A121: Ngardi

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Ngardi language A121
Thesaurus heading (old)
Tindale (1974)
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Previously Bunara A69 was treated as an alternative name for Ngardi. Tindale (1974) lists Bunara as an alternative name for Ngardi (as well as for Kokatja A68). However, both Oates and Oates (1970) and Oates (1975) treat Bunara and Ngardi as separate language varieties, and Capell (1940:425, 429) supplies distinct sets of language data for Ngadi (A121) and Buna:ra A69. Given this, Ngardi and Bunara A69 are now treated as distinct languages and a new record has been created for Bunara in AUSTLANG. The code A69 was originally assigned to Bunara; this is reinstated and the new code (A121) is assigned to Ngardi. Some sources link Ngardi to Warlpiri C15, either as an alternative name (Oates and Oates 1970) or a dialect (Capell 1963). However, Capell (1940:429) gives language data for 'Ngadi' (contrasting with 'Ngardi' in Capell 1963) and the location he describes does not overlap with his 1963 location for Waljbiri C15. Laughren (2013 p.c.) makes a distinction between Ngardi and Ngardilypa C38, the latter being a dialect of Warlpiri, which she locates around 'the Granites about Tanami' (1996:2). This location appears to be between that of Ngardi (A121) and Warlpiri C15. Other sources link Ngardi to Kukatja A68. Watson, in Kleinert and Neale (2000:46), says that Ngardi and Kukatja are now referred to as Kutjungka ('at one') to express their common cultural heritage. Honeyman (2005:22) notes that many Ngardi speakers come from the Balgo area in which Kukatja is one of the primary languages.
  • Capell, Arthur. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10(3):241-272; 10(4):404-433.
  • Capell, Arthur. 1963. Linguistic survey of Australia. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
  • Cataldi, Lee. n.d. A Dictionary of Ngardi, University of Sydney.
  • Cataldi, Lee. n.d. Ngardi vocabulary and notes. (ASEDA 0737).
  • Honeyman, Tom. 2005. Topic and focus in Ngardi, University of Sydney: BA (Hons).
  • Oates, Lynette F. 1975. The 1973 supplement to a revised linguistic survey of Australia. Armidale: Armidale Christian Book Centre.
  • Oates, William J., and Lynette F. Oates. 1970. A revised linguistic survey of Australia: Australian Aboriginal Studies 33, Linguistic Series 12. Canberra: AIAS.
  • 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.
  • Watson, Christine. 2000. Ngantalarra, on the Nakarra Nakarra Dreaming track. In The Oxford companion to Aboriginal art and culture, eds Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale, pp. 46-47. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. (REF 700.8999 KLE)
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

West of Walmanba, about WA border. East of Lake Gregory. (Oates 1975:133) ... about Lewis's Creek, immediately south of Sturt's Creek (Capell 1940:425) The Ngardi speakers lived in an area roughly bounded by Balgo and the southern shore of Lake Gregory in the north, the NT-WA border in the east, the Mangkayi area (north of Lake Mackay) in the south and just east of the Canning Stock Route in the west (Cataldi ASEDA 0737) Sandhill country west of the Tanami track, from Chilla Well, the Granites, and Gardiner Range extending west into Western Australia at Ima Ima (n.n. Ngaima ngaima) on Sturt Creek, to Balgo Hill (and the Pallotine Mission), also to Manggai, an unidentified water; they go south to near Milidjipi (129°40' E x 22°3'S) and to Tekkari, north of Lake Mackay (129°1'E x 21°50'S). These are two known native waters in otherwise unnamed country; at Lakes Hazlett, Lucas, White, and Wills. Some important but as yet unlocalized waters include Pinbin (near Lake Lucas), Lerauli, Ngandalara and Pinkatjana (near Emily Springs), Pindiri, Tjaldjiwan, Inindi (near Lake White), and Rabi (between Lakes Lucas and White). Their southern territory extends into large areas covered by mulga scrub (Tindale 1974).

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).

Manuscript note: 
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Language-dialect relationships
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