W14: Nhanda^

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
Yinggarda [Nhanda]
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Jau (['jo] = no), Yau, Eaw (J. Forrest, note in British Museum), Watjandi (['watju] = west), Watchandi, Watchandie, Buluguda (horde and place name), Bulgulu, Tamala (horde and place name), Daguda (horde).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Yaw, Eau
Other sources
Amangu (southern dialect form of Nhanda arnmanu 'man, person'. Amandyo), Eaw (i'u 'south' in Nhanda), Jau (would be a way of writin Nhanda ya'u 'none, nothing', Wathandi (probably wacu 'west' in Nhanda, Wadjandi, Wadyandi, Wahandie, Watjandee, Wajanmay, Watjandi, Watjanti, Wattandee, Wattandi), Wilunya (probably derived from wilu 'sea'. People are sometimes referred to as the Champion Bay tribe [Blevins 2001:2]
Nhanta, Yinggarda, Eaw, Watjanti, An gaur die, Bulgulu, Buluguda, Daguda, Eau, Jau, Nandatharia, Nanta, Ngoogooja, Nunnagundee, Tamala, Watchandi, Watchandie, Watjandi, Yau, Yaw, Amangu, Wilunya

Blevins identifies three dialects: Nhanda, the northernmost dialect, Watchandi W13, the central dialect, and Amangu W12, the southern dialect (2001:3). Thus Nhanda is both a language name and a dialect name. There is evidence of initial consonant deletion, a voicing contrast in stops, a distinctive glottal stop, a tripartite systems of bound pronoun, a verbal conjugation contrast between 'unaccusative' and 'unergatives', and an emerging case marking system marking intrasitive subject, transitive subjects and direct objects (Blevins, 2001: 1).

Marmion (2007 p.c.) says that Ngukaja A101 reported by Gratte (PMS 5968, PMS 4878, MS 4134) might be a dialect of Nhanda as well.

Tindale (1974) lists Buluguda W17 and Daguda W15 as group names of Nanda (W14). However, according to Blevins, Buluguda and Daguda are likely local groups of Malgana W18 (2001:2).

However, the identity of both Amangu W12 and Watjanti W14 is somewhat uncertain. The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council's Kaartdijin Noongar page lists Amangu as a 'Noongar dialectical group'. Most sources consider Amangu to be related to Nhanda, but Nhanhagardi A93, which is equated with Amangu by several sources (including Blevins), is treated as a dialect of Noongar / Nyungar W41 by Douglas (1976). Douglas also says that, based on his comparison of the data supplied in Curr, Watjanti W13 is clearly closely related to Watjarri A39 (1981).


  • Blevins, Juliette. 2001. Nhanda: an Aboriginal language of Western Australia: Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications, no. 30. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • Douglas, Wilfrid H. 1976. The Aboriginal languages of the south-west of Australia, 2nd edition: Australian Aboriginal Studies, Research and Regional Studies 9. Canberra: AIAS.
  • Douglas, Wilfrid. 1981. Watjarri. In Handbook of Australian languages, Vol. 2, eds R. M. W. Dixon and B. J. Blake, 196-272. Canberra: ANU Press.
  • Gratte, Stan. 1990. Letter, 1990 November 5, Wonthella, W.A., to Grace Koch. (PMS 4878)
  • Gratte, Stan. 1998. Aborigines of the Geraldton and Murchison districts. Vol. 1, Coastal, ms. (MS 4134).
  • Gratte, Stan. 2007. Letter and enclosure of two maps relating to Nowkadja language. (PMS 5968).
  • 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.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Nhanda was spoken in and around the mouth of the Murchison River, north to Gee Gie Outcamp and inland along the Murchison ... possibly from as far south as the Hill River, through Champion Bay, and up to the sandplains north of the Murchison River ... extends north towards Tamala Statioin, and East along the Murchison to the bend at Coolcalalya (Blevins 2001:3, 5).



Juliette Blevins, Doug Marmion, Irra Wangga - Geraldton Language Programme (formally Yamaji Language Centre)
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 Small (20-100 pages) 2
Text Collection None 0
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Blevins, Juliette. 2001. Nhanda: an Aboriginal language of Western Australia. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications, no. 30 Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.


Blevins, Juliette. 2001. Nhanda: an Aboriginal language of Western Australia. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications, no. 30 Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Yinggarda Yinggarda [Nhanda] Yinggarda [dialects: Related to Malgana which is extinct, Nhanda which is nearly extinct (handful of speakers, Blevins 1995), and Bulinya which may be extinct.]
Dixon (2002)   MOORE RIVER TO GASCOYNE RIVER GROUP   Nhanta Nhanta Blevins (2001) further dialects: Watchandi, Amangu
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Nhanda  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Kardu Nhanda  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Pilbara-Nyungar (Southwest) Kardu Nanda  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Kardu Nanda  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Kardu Nanda