C8.1: Anmatyerr

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Anmatyerre language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Nmatjera (valid variant), Unmatjera (principally Aranda version), Imatjera, Anmatjara, Urmitchee, Janmadjara and Janmadjari (of Walpiri), Janmatjiri (of Pintubi), Yanmedjara, Yanmadjari.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Unmatjera, Imatjera, Urmitchee
Other sources
Anmatjere, Anmajirra [<ozbib>Green 2010:ix$6909<ozbib>]
Anmatjirra, Anmatyerre, Anmatjera, Unmatjera, Imatjera, Urmitchee, Anmadjara, Anmatjere, Anmajirra, Nmatjera, Anmatjara, Janmadjara, Janmadjari, Janmatjiri, Yanmedjara, Yanmadjari, Arandic

Anmatyerr is an Arandic language C48 variety. Green mentions an 'older type' of Anmatyerr (C8.1) spoken in the central and western parts of Anmatyerr country called 'Kal Ntheyelkwer' or 'Ntheyelkwer' and describes variation in modern times - a Central dialect (spoken in communities including Ti Tree and those to the west) and an Eastern dialect (including Stirling and the Sandover communities) (2010: vii).

Wilkins (in Henderson 2013:12) provides an overview of the Arandic languages with two major sub-groups: Artwe (~Urtwe) composed of Upper Arrernte (Eastern Arrernte, Western Arrernte C47, Alyawarr C14, Anmatyerr (C8.1), and Lower Arrernte C29 (Lower South Arandic). The other major subgroup is called Artweye, with one member Kaytetye C13. See also Arrernte C8, Pertame C46; Lower Arrernte C29; Ayerrerenge G12; Antekerrepenhe C12 and Akarre C28.


  • Breen, Gavan. 2001. The wonders of Arandic phonology. In Forty Years on : Ken Hale and Australian languages, eds. Simpson, Jane, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin and Barry Alpher, 45-69.
  • Carew, Margaret. 2010. Anmatyerr Angkety Angkwey: Anmatyerr stories about the old days. Ngoonjook: a Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues 35:44-59.
  • Green, Jenny & Kitty Peltharr. 2000. Alherramp-areny angkety arelh-kenh = Women's stories from Laramba. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
  • Green, Jenny. 2003. Central Anmatyerr Picture Dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
  • Green, Jenny. 2010. Central & Eastern Anmatyerr to English dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
  • Henderson, John. 2013. Topics in Eastern and Central Arrernte Grammar. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa.
  • 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: 

Forster Range, Mount Leichhardt, Conistan, Stuart Bluff Range east of West Bluff; at Hann and Reynolds Ranges; on Burt Plain north of Rembrandt Rocks and Connor Well; east to Woodgreen; northeast to central Mount Stuart and Harper Springs (Tindale 1974). ... the region extends roughly from Mt Allan in the west to some of the Sandover outstations in the east, and from Stirling in the north to around Native Gap in the south (Green 2010:vii) Contemporary location : Some of the main communities where Anmatyerr is spoken are Yuelamu (Mt Allan), Laramba (Napperby), Pulardi (Desert Bore), Ti Tree, Ti Tree Six Mile, Stirling, some of the outstations on Utopia (the Angarapa Land Trust), Mulga Bore and Adelaide Bore. Many Anmatyerr people also live in regional centres, such as Alice Springs, and in other communities, such as Yuendumu and Engawala (Alcoota) (Green 2010:vii). Carew also names Aileron as a contemporary location (2010:45).

  • Tindale, Norman. 1974. Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Division of National Mapping, Department of National Development.
  • Institute for Aboriginal Development. 2002. Central Australian Aboriginal languages: current distribution. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Waljen (A11 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:

Anmadjera (T,O'G,RLS,AC,SAW,KH), Anmatjirra (IAD, Andrews), Anmatyira (Yallop), Umatjera (Ingamalls), Unmatjera

Regarded as a dialect of Aranda by Oates, AIAS, Capell.

Classification of the language:

Aranda Group, Urtwa subgroup

Identification codes:

Oates '73: 66.1d


Capell: C5

Present number and distribution of speakers:

Tea Tree (Ti Tree), Napperby, Stirling, Aileron,

Alice Springs, Utopia, Yuendumu

Milliken, 1972 -- 841

Black, 1979 --

People who have worked intensively on the language:

Avery Andrews, ANU; Jenny Green, Utopia.

Practical orthography:

Experimental (Andrews, IAD)

Word lists:

Hale, IAD.

Grammar or sketch grammar:


Material available on the language:

Andrews, Avery. Notes on Anmatjirra phonology: preliminary. 15p. ms. IAD.

---------- & David Nash. 1978. Anmatjirra flora terms. 2p. ts. AIAS.

Green, Jenny. Anmatjirra notes. ms. (field notes on verb tenses, question forms, etc.)

Hale, Kenneth L. Anmatjirra avoidance language. 2p. ms.

---------- 1962. Internal relationships in Arandic of Central Australia, pp.171-83 in Some Linguistic Types in Australia. Oceania Linguistic Monograph 7, by A. Capell. Sydney: Oceania

(The University of Sydney).

---------- 197?. Arandic word list. 25p. mimeo. MIT.

---------- 1976. On ergative and locative suffixial alternations in Australian languages, pp.414-417 in Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, ed. by R.M.W. Dixon. AIAS. (discusses rule

adding final /ng/)

O'Grady, Geoffrey N. 1957. Materials on suffixing languages of Western Australia. p.1-116,125,261,263-275: xerox ms. (vocabularies of various languages) University of Sydney.

Strehlow, T.G.H. 1942. Aranda phonetics. Oceania 12.3:255-302. (comparative brief notes on Kukatja, Ngalia, Unmatjera phonetics).

Tindale, N.B. 1932. Journal of an expedition to Mt Leibig, Central Australia, to do anthropological research. Aug 1932. 374p. + suppl. notes. ms. (Kukatja, Jumu, Ngalia, Anmatjera,

Pintubi and Aranda)

Literacy material:


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

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


Jenny Green has conducted intensive fieldwork over many years, working with almost 100 speakers, mostly in Mt Allan, Napperby, Ti Tree, Stirling and the Sandover communities. This work has produced more than 250 hours of transcribed language recordings, many field notes and language materials, all compiled in a database. A comprehensive dictionary was also produced, with the help of young people working on teaching language and culture in Anmatyerr schools. In recent years the Anmatyerr Angkety database has been developed, incorporating material from activities such as a 2008 oral history project. This database brings together text, photographs, audio and video material, and is accessible at the Ti Tree Library Indigenous Knowledge Centre (Carew 2010:45, 59).

Jenny Green, Adam Kendon, Jeannie Devitt, N.B. Tindale, Ken Hale, Avery Andrews, Gavan Breen
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers
1990Schmidtincl. with Arrente C8

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 Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available (Vocabulary)

Green, Jenny. 2003. Central Anmatyerr picture dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press. Purle, Cookie, Jenny Green and Margaret Heffernan. 1984. Anmatyerre word list. Alice Springs: IAD Press. Green, Jenny. 2010. Central & Eastern Anmatyerr to English dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Arandic   Anmatyerre Anmatyerre [dialects: Eastern Anmatyerre, Western Anmatyerre (Kalenthelkwe, Kelenthwelkere, Kelentheyewelrere)]
Dixon (2002)   ARANDIC AREAL GROUP   Anmatjirra (Anmatyerr) Arrernte (Aranda) Strehlow (1944), Wilkins (1989), Yallop (1977) dialects: Anmatjirra (Anmatyerr), Aljawarra (Alyawarr), Ayerrerenge, Antekerrepenhe, Ikngerripenhe (Eastern Aranda), Mparntwe Arrernte (Central Aranda), Tyuretye Arrernte or Arrernte Alturlerenj (Western Aranda), Pertame(Southern Aranda), Alenjerntarrpe (Lower Aranda)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Arandic   Anmatjirra  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Urtwa Anmatjirra  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Urtwa Anmadjara  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Urtwa Anmatjera  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Urtwa Anmatjera