Diyari language

Pronunciation [ɖijaɻi]
Region South Australia
  • Diyari
  • Dirari (Dhirari)
  • Pirlatapa?
Dieri Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
dif  Diyari
dit  Dirari
bxi  Pirlatapa
Glottolog None
pirl1239  Dieric, incl. Ngamini[1]
AIATSIS[2] L17 Diyari, L14 Dhirari, L11 Pirladapa

Diyari /ˈdjɑːri/ or Dieri /ˈdɪəri/[3] is an Australian Aboriginal language of South Australia.

Dirari (extinct late 20th century) was a dialect. Pirlatapa (extinct by the 1960s) may have been as well; data is poor. The information below is from Diyari proper.



Front Back
High i u
Low a


Peripheral Laminal Apical
Bilabial Velar Palatal Dental Alveolar Retroflex
Stop Voiceless p k c t ʈ
Voiced d~dʳ ɖ
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n̪ ~ d̪n̪ n ~ dn ɳ
Lateral ʎ l̪ ~ d̪l̪ l ~ dl ɭ
Trill [r]
Flap [ɾ]
Approximant w j ɻ

Several of the nasals and laterals are allophonically prestopped.[4]

The voiced alveolar stop [d] may have trilled release [dʳ] depending on dialect. Peter Austin (1988) suggests that this is due to Yandruwanhdha influence.

The voiced retroflex stop /ɖ/ often becomes a tap [ɽ] between vowels.

The stop [d]~[dʳ] is in complementary distribution with both the trill [r] and the flap [ɾ]. Austin (1981) analysed the trill [r] as being the intervocalic allophone of /d/~/dʳ/, with the flap /ɾ/ being a separate phoneme. R. M. W. Dixon (2002) suggests that [ɾ] could be considered the intervocalic allophone of /d/~/dʳ/, so then /r/ would be a separate phoneme. Having /d/ realized as [ɾ] would parallel the realization of /ɖ/ as [ɽ], and having /r/ rather than /ɾ/ as a phoneme matches most other Australian languages.


Diyari has three different morphosyntactic alignments:


The Diyari had a highly developed sign language.[5]


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pirlatapa–Dieric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Diyari at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  3. Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. Jeff Mielke, 2008. The emergence of distinctive features, p 135
  5. Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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