W26: Thalanyji

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nec (Thalanyji)
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Talandji, Jinigudira
Tindale (1974)
Talanji, Talanjee, Dalandji, Talaindji (valid alternative), Talainji, Tallainji, Dalaindji, Djalendi, Talandi, Tal-lainga (? misprint), Dalangi (g = dj). Inikurdira, Jinigudera, Jinigura (valid alternative), Jiniguri, Jarungura (another alternative).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Tallainji, Talaindji, Talanji, Talanjee, Tallainga, Taloinga
Other sources
Djalandji, Mulgarnu, Tallainji (Bates), Thalanyji (Austin) [Wangka Maya PALC 2008:11]
Thalantji, Other Australian Indigenous Languages, Dhalandji, Dalandji, Djalandji, Inikurdira, Jinigudira, Talandji, Yinikurtira, Dalaindji, Dalangi, Dalanjdji, Dalendi, Djalandi, Djalendi, Mulgarnu, Talaindji, Talainji, Talandi, Talangee, Talanjee, Talanji, Talinje, Tallainga, Tallainji, Taloinga, Thalanji, Tal lainga, Jinigudera, Jinigura, Jiniguri, Jarungura

Thalanyji is a Pama Nyungan language in the Kanyara language group, with Bayungu W23, Burduna W24 and Binigura W34. The exact nature of the linguistic relationships between these varieties is not known; there may have been dialects of Bayungu, or the Ganyara varieties may be dialects of an unnamed language (Wangka Maya 2008: 13-14).

Austin says that there are several dialects of Thalanyji (differing in vocabulary and some case affixes), for two of which he has extensive materials. Austin also mentions that O'Grady collected material on the different dialects in 1958 and 1967. Austin includes Jinigudira W54 as one of the Thalanyji 'groups', noting that Tindale treats them as a different 'tribe' (1988).

There is some uncertainty around the identity of this name. Tindale (1974) says that Jinigudira W54 people spoke a language close to Talandji (W26) and were sometimes considered to be 'western Talandji', however his informants were sure that they had possessed separate identities for a long time.

Von Brandenstein (1969), on the other hand, reports that it may be a dialect of Pajungu W23.

Deak (2008 p.c.) says her informant suspects that Yinigudira W54 is probably not a group of people or language, but a sacred site for the Bayungu W23. Deak notes that there are suggestions of two different dialects of Thalanyji, though reports vary and Deak's informants deny any dialectal differences, suggesting instead that variant forms may be attributable to other Ganyara languages. (Wangka Maya PALC 2008:17).


  • Austin, Peter Kenneth. 1988. Aboriginal languages of the Gascoyne-Ashburton region. La Trobe Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 1, pp. [43]-63. (S 40/26)
  • Brandenstein, Carl G. von. 1969. Report on field work 1969. A.I.A.S. Doc. no.69/865. (pMS 2139)
  • Dixon, Sally. 2011. How to read and write Pilbara languages. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Sutton, Peter. 1995. Country: Aboriginal boundaries and land ownership in Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal History Inc.
  • 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.
  • Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Thalanyji dictionary, English-Thalanyji wordlist and topical wordlists. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Thalanyji sketch grammar. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Bayungu sketch grammar: an introduction to the structure and use of Bayungu. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.

State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Talanji: Along the Ashburton River from the coast to Nanutarra, Boolaloo, and the lower Henry River. They neither circumcise nor subincise. Their extension to the coast at Exmouth Gulf is probably all due to late migration, the postcontact position was shown on the first edition of my map (Tindale 1974). Jinigudira: North West Cape and its peninsula to a line between the bottom of Exmouth Gulf and Whaleback Hills. At Point Cloates (Tindale 1974).

Thalanyji country covered most of the area ascribed to Purduna on Davis's map (1993), plus the North West Cape (Austin in Sutton 1995:97). Onslow, Bindi Bindi, Carnarvon, Tom Price, Port Hedland (Dixon 2011:23).

... along the coast south of Onslow to Tubridji Point, and southwest across to Yannarie River. It follows the river upstream to Emu Creek on Nyang Station, then east to Bangoola Pool on the Henry River, it crosses the Ashburton River and continues a short distance up the Hardey River, then extends northwest along the Cane River to the ocean. (Wangka Maya 2008:iv). Thalanyji country is located in the southern Ashburton region of the Pilbara in Western Australia. The country includes Onslow, Cane River, to the east of Onslow, Nanutarra and Emu Creek (formerly Nyang) Stations to the south-east of Onslow and Yanrey Station to the south. The coastal part of the Ashburton River is a significant feature of Thalanyjji country. Contemporary location: Today, Thalanyji people, some of whom are able to use the Bayungu language, live predominantly in Carnarvon or Port Hedland. A few people live at Cardabia Station full-time and make it available for others to visit regularly. (Wangka Maya PALC 2008:11).




Language program being developed for Thalanyji language at Onslow School; Thalanyji as well as Yindjibarndi [W37] are LOTE languages being taught at Onslow School. (Wangka Maya PALC 2008:16) Deak mentions the multiple projects connected to her data collection, including an ethnobotanical project, resulting in the publication of 'Ngambunyjarri: ngambunyjarri thalanyjibarndi yininyjarri - Thalanyji plant names and uses' by Anne Hayes, a town signage project and updating Wangka Maya's Thalanyji Toolbox database and dictionary. (Wangka Maya PALC 2008:21)

Peter Austin, Geoffrey O'Grady, Carl von Brandenstein, Stefano Scura, Alan Dench, Vicki Webb, Albert Burgman, Sue Hanson, Anne Hayes, Shirley Hayes, Eleonora Deak, Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre
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 1-10 2
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Austin, Peter. 1987. A reference grammar of the Mantharta languages, Western Australia, ms.

Wangka Maya PALC. 2000. Thalanyji Morphology (Interim Copy). South Hedland, W.A. Wangka Maya PALC.

Wangka Maya PALC. 2008. Thalanyji sketch grammar. Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.


Austin, Peter. 1992. A dictionary of Thalanyji, Western Australia. Bundoora: La Trobe University. Wangka Maya PALC. 2002. Thalanyji wordlist. South Hedland, W.A. Wangka Maya PALC. Burgman, Albert. 2006. Thalanyji dictionary 2006 (CD-Rom). South Hedland, W.A. Wangka Maya PALC. Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Thalanyji dictionary, English-Thalanyji wordlist and topical wordlists 2008. South Hedland: Wangka Maya PALC.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Dhalanji Dhalandji  
Dixon (2002)   GASCOYNE RIVER TO PILBARA AREAL GROUP Kanjara subgroup* Thalantji Thalantji/Pinikura
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Dhalandji  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Kanyara Dhalandji  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Pilbara-Nyungar (Southwest) Kanyara Dalandji  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Kanyara Talandji  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Kanyara Talandji