L6: Barngarla

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


ABN name
Barngarla Language (Previously Parnkarla language)
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Barngarla language L6
Thesaurus heading (old)
Parnkalla / Barngarla / Bungala language (L6) (SA SI53-04)
Tindale (1974)
Banggala (valid alternative pronunciation), Bahn-gala, Pankalla, Parkalla (typographical error), Parnkalla, Parn-kal-la, Parnkala, Punkalla, Bangala, Bungela, Pan-karla, Punkirla, Bungeha (probably misreading of Bungela), Kortabina (place name), Willeuroo (basic meaning 'west,' or 'westerner'), Arkaba-tura (men of Arkaba, a place in the northeast corner of tribal territory where they met Jadliaura people), Wanbirujurari ('men of the seacoast'; said of the southern hordes by those in the north), Willara, Kooapudna (horde around Franklin Harbour), Kooapidna.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Pankarla, Parnkala, Bangala, Banggala, Bahanga-la, Pankalla, Punkalla, Bungela, Bungeha, Kortabina
Other sources
Pangkarla [Hercus 1994]
Banggarla, Bangalla, Arkaba tura, Ba:Nggala, Ba:njgala, Bahanga la, Bahngala, Bangala, Banggala, Barngarla, Bungeha, Bungala, Bungela, Kooapidna, Kooapudna, Kortabina, Pangkala, Pankala, Pankalla, Pankarla, Parkalla, Parn kal la, Parnkala, Punkalla, Punkirla, Wanbirujurari, Willara, Willeuroo, Pangkarla, Bahn gala, Pan karla
Clendon (2015), in his recasting of Schürmann's Parnkalla (L6) grammar, notes that Barngarla, Nhawu L2 and Wirangu C1 were mutually intelligible 'at least near their margins', as were Barngarla, Adnyamathanha L10 and Kuyani L9, in the same way (p. 2). He directs the reader to Hercus 1999 for a description of Barngarla dialects. Hercus (1999:12) says that there were at least three dialects: Parnkalla, Pangkarla and Arra-Parnkalla. She identifies data from the Gawler Range by A.D. Sawers and data from Marachowie by H.L. Beddome, both in in Curr (1887:130, 134), as 'Pangkarla' or the northern dialect. In her Nukunu L5 dictionary, Hercus describes these dialects as 'Parnkalla from Eastern Eyre Peninsula', 'Warta-Pangkala "Plains Pangkala" from the plains north of Pt August', and 'Nhawu Parnkalla from lower Eyre Peninsula' (Hercus 1992:1). It is not clear whether Nhawu Parnkalla is the same as Arra-Parnkalla. Hercus (1999:14) reports that one of her informants considered Nyawa L2 to be a dialect of Parnkalla, though the quote from Moonie Davis seems to suggest that Arra-Parnkalla and Nhawu Parnkalla are distinct. No further information is available, nor data identified, and most other sources have used these names interchangeably. Given the lack of further information, the uncertain identity of some, the lack of data for most, and the fact that they are undifferentiated in other sources, these dialect names are not treated separately in this database, nor are they included as language headings in the Thesaurus.
  • Beddome, Harry L. 1868. Marachowie. In Curr (ed.), The Australian Race, vol. 2, pp. 132-135.
  • Clendon, Mark. 2015. Clamor Schürmann's Barngarla grammar: a commentary on the first section of A vocabulary of the Parnkalla language. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press. (L P230.004/1)
  • Curr, Edward Micklethwaite. 1886-87. The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia, and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer; London: Trübner.
  • Hercus, Luise Anna. 1992. A Nukunu dictionary. Canberra: Department of Linguistics, The Faculties, Australian National University.
  • Hercus, Luise. 1999. A grammar of the Wirangu language from the West Coast of South Australia: Pacific Linguistics C-150. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Hercus, Luise & Jane Simpson. 2001. The tragedy of Nauo. In Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages, ed. Jane Simpson, et al., 263-290. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Sawers, A.D. 1886. Gawler Range. In Curr (ed.) The Australian Race, vol. 2, pp. 130-132.
  • 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: 

East side of Lake Torrens south of Edeowie and west of Hookina and Port Augusta; west of Lake Torrens to Island Lagoon and Yardea; at Woorakimba, Hesso, Yudnapinna, Gawler Ranges; south to Kimba, Darke Peak, Cleve, and Franklin Harbour (Tindale 1974). Port Lincoln, to the north beyond Franklin Harbour and the interior (Schurmann 1987:152-3 as quoted in Hercus and Simpson 2001:264).

Luise Hercus, C.W. Schürmann
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 Less than 20 pages 1
Text Collection None 0
Grammar None 0
Audio-visual Less than 1 1
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available (vocabulary)

Schürmann, C, Simpson, J and O'Grady, J. A vocabulary of the Parnkalla language, ASEDA 0256.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Yura Banggarla  
Dixon (2002)   SPENCER GULF BASIN AREAL GROUP Yura subgroup* Parnkalla Parnkalla Schürmann (1844)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Banggarla  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Yura Banggarla (Pangkala)  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Southern Western Desert Type Yura Banggala (Pangkala)  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Yura Pangkala (Pankarla, Parnkala, Pankalla, Banggala)  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Yura Pangkala