A89: Pililuna

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


ABN name
ABS name
Walmajarri (Bililuna dialect)
Horton name
Ethnologue name
Walmajarri (Pililuna)
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
Tindale (1974)
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Walmajarri, Bililuna dialect
The Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages and Dixon (2002) list Pililuna as a dialect of Walmajarri A66. According to Hudson and Richards (2007 p.c.), this is a name of a station/community and they refer to it as the eastern dialect of Walmajarri, but people from the area just call themselves Walmajarri. Capell (1940:423) says that the eastern dialect of Wolmeri A66, spoken around Bililuna, was sometimes known as Buna:ra A69. There is a word list in the Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages. As this is the same identity as Bunara A69, Pililuna is not included as a distinct language heading in the Thesaurus.
  • Capell, Arthur. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10(3):241-272; 10(4):404-433.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development: Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Nash, David, and Kathleen Menning. 1981. Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages. Alice Springs: Institute for Aboriginal Development.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 
Billiluna and Mulan (Hudson 2007 p.c.).
Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Nyiyaparli (A50 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Walmadjari (AIAS, AC), Walmadyeri (N), Walmaharri (Matthews), Walmatjari (AC, Hudson), Walmatjeri (Worms), Walmatjiri (Douglas), Walmayari ) (probably Jaru name), Warmala, Wolmaharry ), Wolmatjeri (Kaberry), Wolmera, Wolmeri (O'G,RLS), Wulumari
Dialects: Jiwarliny (to west); Billiluna dialect (to south-east)
Classification of the language:
Northern Western Desert Type, Ngumbin subgroup
Identification codes:
Oates '73: 59.7b
AIAS: A.066
Capell: A35
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Between 800 and 1000 speakers. Fitzroy Crossing, Looma, Eastern Kimberleys. Traditionally Great Sandy Desert, Lat. 19-21 S, Long. 124-127 E
Black, 1979 --
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Joyce Hudon and Eirlys Richards, Fitzroy Crossing.
Practical orthography:
Yes: Hudson & Richards.
Word lists:
Hudson (1978).
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Hudson (1978).
Material available on the language:
Berndt, R.M. 1972. The Walmadjeri and Gugadja, in Hunters and gatherers today. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Fraser, J. & J. Hudson. 1975. A comparison and contrasting of the noun phrase of Walmatjari with the noun phrase of Fitzroy Crossing children's Pidgin.
Hudson, Joyce. 1970. Walmatjari paragraph types. ms. SIL-AAB. ---------- 1971. Some features of high level phonology in Walmatjari. 1st draft. March. 15p. SIL.
---------- Walmatjari: nominative-ergative or nominative-accusative? Pacific Linguistics A.42:1-30. (Papers in Australian Linguistics, 9)
---------- 1976. The derivational affix 'having'; 10: Walmadjari, p.205-8 in Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, ed. by R.M.W. Dixon. AIAS.
---------- 1976. Simple and compound verbs: conjugation by auxiliaries in Australia verbal systems; 82: Walmatjari, p.653-67 in Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, ed. by R.M.W.
Dixon. AIAS.
---------- 1978. The core of Walmatjari grammar. 115p. AIAS.
---------- 1980. A tentative analysis of illocutionary verbs in Walmatjari. 30p. ts. June. ANU.
---------- & Eirlys Richards. 1969. The phonology of Walmatjari. Oceanic Linguistics 8:171-189.
---------- & ---------- 1971. Walmatjari dictionary. (superseded)
---------- & ---------- 1973. Walmatjari word list. SIL
---------- & ---------- 1976. The Walmatjari: an introduction to the language and culture. Work Papers of SIL-AAB B.1. SIL.
---------- & ---------- 1978. Dictionary Walmatjari to English and English to Walmatjari, first draft. 200p. xerox ts. SIL. (under revision)
Richards, Eirlys. 1974. Tentative frequency count of clause types in written and oral narrative in Walmatjari. Nov.
---------- 1977. The Walmatjari noun phrase. (prepublication draft) Aug. 45p.
---------- & Joyce Hudson. 1973. Wangki 1-4. Word. SIL.
O'Grady, G.N. [1968?] Language material from W.A. 364p. ms. (comparative vocabularies)
Worms, E.A. 1950. Feuer und feuerzeuger in sage und brauch der Nordwest Australier. Anthropos 45:145-164. (includes list of words relating to fire-making in Mangala, Gogadja, Garadjeri,
Bidongo, Walmatjari)
Literacy material:
Richards & Hudson (see section 8, 9)
---------- & ---------- (a number of story books and scripture portions)

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

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

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).

TypeDocumentation StatusDocumentation Score
Word listLess than 20 pages1
Text CollectionNone0
Manuscript note: 
Ethnologue (2005)Pama-NyunganSouth-WestNgumbinWalmajarri (Pililuna)
Dixon (2002)NORTHERN DESERT FRINGE SUBGROUPEdgar Range to Victoria River subgroup*PililunaWalmatjarri Hudson (1978) further dialects: Tjuwalinj, Pililuna
Wurm (1994)
Walsh (1981)
Oates (1975)
Wurm (1972)
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)