W37: Yindjibarndi

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Yindjinbarndi language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Indjibandji (of northern tribes), Indjibandje, Ingi-bandi, Jind'iparndi, Jindjiparndi, Yingiebandie, Indjiban, Jindjibanji, Binjiebandie, Mandanjongo ('top people' applied by Njamal to plateau dwellers including the Pandjima and Indjibandi), Mardanjungu (Ngaluma name), Jana:ri (Talandji name), Yanari, Kakardi ('eastern people,' name given by Ngaluma to this and adjoining tribes who circumcise).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Indjibandi, Injibandi, Ingibandi, Yingiebandie
Other sources
Yinytjiparnti [Barry Alpher] Jindjibandji [Wangka Maya PALC 2003]
Yinjtjiparnrti, Burnugundi, Indjibandi, Jaurnmalu, Mandanjingu, Binjiebandie, Een ge pan ty, Indjiban, Indjibandje, Indjibandji, Ingibandi, Injibandi, Jana:ri, Jindiparndi, Jindjaparndi, Jindjibandi, Jindjibandji, Jindjibanji, Jindjiparndi, Kakardi, Mandanjong, Mardanjungu, Yanari, Yingiebandie, Yinjibarndi, Jindjibarndi, Yinytjiparnti, Ingi bandi, Mandanjongo

Oates (1975) and the WA Handbook (Thieberger 1993) describe three dialects of Yindjibarndi: Burnugundi W68, Mandanjingu W69 and Jaurnmalu W70.

Von Brandenstein (1967:3 and maps 4 and 5) treats them as subgroups of Jind'iparndi (W37) though it is unclear whether these are people or language names.

Wordick (1982) does not list any dialects, stating that there is essentially no dialectal variation in Yindjibarndi.

Tindale gives Jawunmara as an Indjibandi (W37) term for Kurama W36, a name very close in form to Oates' westernmost Yindjibarndi dialect, Jarurnmalu. Kurrama W36 is closely related to Yindjibarndi. Dixon (2002) treats them as the same language.

Von Brandenstein (PMS 2126) says Kurrama is a Jindjiparndi (W37) dialect, with almost identical vocabulary and grammar.

Wordick (1982) says they are closely related and that some linguists would treat them as 'dialects of the same unnamed language', but that speakers consider them distinct.

Tindale (1974) says the name Kurama W36, meaning 'highlanders', may also have been used as a descriptive term for Yindjibarndi people. AUSTLANG and the Thesaurus follow Wordick (1982) in treating Yindjibarndi and Kurrama as distinct languages.


  • Brandenstein, Carl G. von. 1967. The language situation in the Pilbara - past and present. In Papers in Australian Linguistics 2. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Brandenstein, Carl G. von. 1968. Interim report, 1968, no.1 (July-August). (PMS 2126)
  • Brandenstein, Carl G. von. 1970. Narratives from the north-west of Western Australia in the Ngarluma and Jindjiparndi languages. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. (B B817.57/N1, vol. 1)
  • Brandenstein, Carl G. von. 1982. The secret respect language of the Pilbara, Western Australia. (p BRA)
  • Innsbrucker Beitrage zur Kulturwissenschaft, vol. 50, pp. 33-52. (p BRA)
  • Dixon, R. M. W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development: Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Dixon, Sally. 2011. How to read and write Pilbara languages. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Oates, Lynette F. 1975. The 1973 supplement to a revised linguistic survey of Australia. Armidale: Armidale Christian Book Centre.
  • Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. 1912. The distribution of native tribes in part of Western Australia. Man, no. 75, pp. 143-146. (RS 57/6)
  • 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. 2003. Yindjibarndi-English dictionary: English-Yindjibarndi finderlist & topical wordlist. Port Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. (<http://www.wangkamaya.org.au/pilbara-languages/yindjibarndi-overview>, viewed 2016)
  • Wordick, F. J. F. 1982. The Yindjibarndi language: Pacific Linguistics C-71. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

On the lower Hamersley Range plateau south of the Peak Hill Range; in the valley of the Hamersley River from Pialin at the junction of Portland Creek with the Fortescue River, east along a line formed by the edge of the scarp facing the eastern headwaters of Yule River; east along the Fortescue River to Marana Pool, about 10 miles (16 km.) west of Kudaidari (Goodiadarrie Hills on maps). South to the clifflike north-facing scarp of the higher Hamersley Range plateau roughly along a line from Mount Elvire east-southeast to Mount George (Tindale 1974).

Indjibarndi occupied a central slab south of the Ngarluma and east almost to the Yule River (Palmer in Sutton 1995:99).

Speakers originally came from an area around the Fortescue River near Mount Pyrton, north to the upper Yule River and east to Mungaroona Range (Wangka Maya PALC 2003:i).

Contemporary location; Roebourne and surrounding towns (Dixon 2011:43).



Yindjibarndi and Thalanyji [W26] are LOTE languages being taught at Onslow School. (Deak 2008:16)

Alan Dench, Carl von Brandenstein, Ken Hale, Geoffrey O'Grady, Frank Wordick, Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre, Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers
1990Schmidt500 - 600

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 Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Text Collection Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual 1-10 2
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Wordick, F. 1982. The Yindjibarndi language: Pacific Linguistics C71. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


Wangka Maya PALC. c2003. Yindjibarndi - English dictionary, English - Yindjibarndi finderlist & topical wordlist. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya PALC. Wordick, F. 2002. Yindjibarndi wordlist. South Hedland, WA.: Wangka Maya PALC.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Coastal Ngayarda Yindjibarndi  
Dixon (2002)   GASCOYNE RIVER TO PILBARA AREAL GROUP Pilbara/Ngayarta areal group Yinjtjiparnrti Yinjtjiparnrti/Kurrama Wordick (1982)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Yindjibarndi  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Coastal Ngayarda Yindjibarndi  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Pilbara-Nyungar (Southwest) Coastal Ngayarda Jindjibarndi  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Ngayarda Yindjibarndi  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Ngayarda Jindjibandi