Ngaatjatjarra dialect

Region Western Australia
Native speakers
12 (2005)[1]
Ngada Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Ngaatjatjarra (also Ngaatjatjara, Ngaadadjarra) is an Australian Aboriginal dialect of the Western Desert language. It is spoken in the Western Desert cultural bloc which covers about 600 000 square kilometres of the arid central and central-western desert. It is very similar to its close neighbours Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Pintupi, with which it is highly mutually intelligible.

Most Ngaatjatjarra live in one of the communities of Warburton, Warakurna, Tjukurla or Docker River.

Origin of the name

The name Ngaatjatjarra derives from the word ngaatja 'this' which, combined with the comitative suffix -tjarra means something like ' ngaatja-having'. This distinguishes it from its near neighbour Ngaanyatjarra which has ngaanya for 'this'.

Sign language

The Ngaada have (or at one point had) a signed form of their language,[2] though it is not clear from records that it was particularly well-developed compared to other Australian Aboriginal sign languages.[3]


  1. 1 2 Ngaatjatjarra at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  2. C.P. Mountford (1938) "Gesture language of the Ngada tribe of the Warburton Ranges, Western Australia", Oceania 9: 152–155. Reprinted in Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, 1978, vol. 2, pp. 393–396.
  3. Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • DOUSSET Laurent 2002. Politics and demography in a contact situation: The establishment of Giles Meteorological Station in the Rawlinson Ranges, Aboriginal History, 26: 1-22.
  • DOUSSET Laurent 2003. On the misinterpretation of the Aluridja kinship system type (Australian Western Desert), Social Anthropology, 11(1): 43-61.
  • DOUSSET Laurent 2005. Structure and Substance: Combining ‘Classic’ and ‘Modern’ Kinship Studies in the Australian Western Desert, TAJA, 16(1): 18-30.
  • DOUSSET L. 2003. Indigenous modes of representing social relationships: A short critique of the “genealogical concept”, Aboriginal Studies, 2003/1: 19-29.
  • GLASS A. & HACKETT D. 2003. Ngaanyatjarra & Ngaatjatjarra to English dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD. ISBN 1-86465-053-2
  • GOULD R.A. 1968. Living Archaeology: The Ngatatjara of Western Australia, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 24(2): 101-122.
  • GOULD R.A. 1969. Subsistence behavior among the Western desert Aborigines of Australia, Oceania, 39(4): 253-274.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.