L18: Yandruwandha^

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Yandruwunta, Yandruwonta, Yantruwanta, Jendru-wonta, Yandra Wandra, Yandrawontha, Yanderawantha, Yantowannta, Jandruwalda (valid alternative), Yandu-wulda, Endawarra, Innamouka (poor version of place name, Innamincka).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Yandruwunta, Yantruwunta, Jendruwonta, Yandrawontha, Yanderawartha, Yanduwulda, Endawarra
Other sources
Biraliba [Beckett 1958, Breen 1971]
Yandruwandra, Yandruwanhdha, Thayipilthirringuda, Biralipa, Endawarra, Gandruwanda, Innamouka, Jandrawanda, Jandruwalda, Jandruwanda, Jandruwanta, Jandruwunta, Janduruwanda, Jendruwonta, Ngurunta, Yanderawantha, Yanderawartha, Yandra Wandra, Yandrawontha, Yandrinwantha, Yandruwanda, Yandruwanta, Yandruwonta, Yandruwunta, Yanduwulda, Yantowannta, Yantruwanta, Yantruwunta, Biraliba, Jendru wonta, Yandu wulda

Yandruwandha forms part of a larger set speaking dialects of the same language and living in the Lakes Country of north-eastern South Australia (Breen, 2004:1). There are several dialect or tribal names recorded, among which Breen lists Nhirrpi L46, Yawarrawarrka L23, Matja L47, Parlpamardramardra L45 and Ngananhina L48. Breen uses Yandruwandha as a both language name and a dialect name.

Breen's (2004) map places Yandruwandha largely within South Australia with an eastern edge in Queensland. Bowern's (2001) map has Yandruwandha extending into both Queensland and New South Wales. Consequently, in this database Yandruwandha is tentatively treated as a language of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Mathews' (1905:51-2) comments lend support to a Queensland connection; he says that Wonkamurra, Kullalli, Bunthamurra, Yanderwantha and Yowerwarrika are a 'community, or nation' and they all speak 'dialects of the same language'. However, it is not clear which variety of 'Wonkamurra', 'Kullali' and 'Bunthamurra' he refers to.

Yandruwandha is used in a language revitalisation program in Bourke (Wafer and Lissarrague 2008:291). It forms part of the Karnic language group (Hercus, 1994: 10).


  • Bowern, Claire. 2001. Karnic classification revisited. In Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages, ed. Jane Simpson, et al., 245-261. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Breen, Gavan. 2004. Innamincka Talk: a grammar of the Innamincka dialect of Yandruwandha with notes on other dialects: Pacific Linguistics 558. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Hercus, Luise Anna. 1994. A grammar of the Arabana-Wangkangurru language, Lake Eyre Basin, South Australia: Pacific Linguistics C-128. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Mathews, Robert Hamilton. 1905. Ethnological notes on the Aboriginal tribes of Queensland. Royal Geographical Society of A/Asia, Queensland Branch -- Proceedings 20:49-75.
  • Tindale, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Berkeley: University of California Press/Canberra: Australian National University Press.
  • Wafer, Jim, and Amanda Lissarrague. 2008. A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Nambucca Heads: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

South of Cooper Creek from Innamincka to Car-raweena; on Strzelecki Creek (Tindale 1974). (This covers a part of the Parlpamardramardra dialect of Yandruwandha.)

Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Waringari (A63 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Jandruwanda (AC, orig. AIAS), Yandra Wandra (Science of Man), Yandruwandha (AIAS), Yandruwantha (Breen), Yandruwanta (SAW, O'G, RLS, Breen), Yanturuwanta
Dialects: Strezlecki, Nhirrpi (SAW,1957) Biraliba (name given Beckett) (Innamincka)
Related languages: Yawarrawarrka (Breen) (Yawarawarga)
Classification of the language:
Karnic Group, Karna Subgroup. (Originially Dieric Group -- SAW)
Identification codes:
Oates '73: 74.2b
AIAS: L.018
Capell: L22
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Last speaker died in 1976. Traditionally, south of Cooper's Creek from Innamincka to Carraweena (AC).
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Breen is continuing with analysis of material obtained from 2 speakers in 1970-73. Vocabulary of more than 1400 words.
Practical orthography:
None established. Breen's orthography is probably suitable.
Word lists:
Breen 1974.
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Reuther, Breen.
Material available on the language:
Austin, Peter, R. Ellis & Luise A. Hercus. 1976. 'Fruit of the Eyes': semantic diffusion in the Lakes Languages of South Australia. Papers in Australian Linguistics No.10. Pacific Linguistics A.47:57-77.
Austin, Peter. 1981. A grammar of Diyari, South Australia. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 32. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Breen, J. Gavan. 1967. Yandruwandha material. (Yan.-English alphabetical word-list, domain list) (MS 120) AIAS.
---------- 1971. Aboriginal languages of western Queensland (preliminary version). Linguistic Communications 5:1-88. (100 item word list for 19 languages)
---------- Yandruwantha field notes and transcriptions. (30 hours tape-recording, hundreds of pages). Some Yawarrawarrka.
---------- 1974. Yandruwantha wordlist. 40p. ts. Vocabulary of more than 1400 words.
---------- 1975. Innamincka talk (the Innamincka dialect of Yandruwandha): preliminary version. 2v. [398]p. ms. 48
---------- 1976. Yandruwantha, Ngamini, and note on Midhaga, pp.594-7,745-56 in Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages. Linguistic Series 22, ed. by R.M.W. Dixon. AIAS.
Reuther, J.G. Three central Australian grammars: Diari, Jandruwanta, Wongkanguru, ed. by L.A. Hercus and J.G. Breen. ts. Part of Volume V. Jandruwanta. 21p.
---------- Vocabulary of the Dieri and related dialects. 13 notebooks, 18 bd. vols. (4 vols.; vols. of place names, myths, ethnography, etc.) ms. South Australian Museum.
Sharpe, E. 1901. Yandra Wanta tribe, Queensland. Science of Man. Sydney. 3.12:208-209.
Wurm, S.A. 1976. Jand"r"wanta field notes. trans. by Peter Austin. 18p. (pA3 150) AIAS.
Literacy material:

Kathy Menning (comp.) and David Nash (ed.) 1981. © IAD Press

AIATSIS gratefully acknowledges IAD Press for permission to use this material in AUSTLANG.


The radio station associated with the Muda Aoriginal Corporation broadcast programs in Yandruwanndha (McConvell & Thieberger 2001 as cited in Wafer & Lissarrague 2008:285).

Gavan Breen, Geoffrey Gregory, Luise Hercus, Bernhard Schebeck,
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers

Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.

Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).

Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Text Collection Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Grammar Large grammar (more than 200 pages) 4
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Breen, Gavan. 2004. Innamincka talk: a grammar of the Innamincka dialect of Yandruwandha with notes on other dialects: Pacific Linguistics 558. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


Breen, Gavan. 2004. Innamincka Words: Yandruwandha dictionary and stories; Pacific Linguistics 559. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Karnic Karna Yandruwandha  
Dixon (2002)   LAKE EYRE BASIN AREAL GROUP Central Lake Eyre Basin areal group Yandruwanhdha Yandruwanhdha further dialects: Yawarrawarrka, Nhirrpi, Parlpa-Mardramardra, Matja
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Karnic   Yandruwandha  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Karnic Diyari/Karna Yandruwandha  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Karnic Karna Yandruwandha  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Dieric Karna Yandruwanta  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Dieric Karna Jandruwanta