Worrorra language

Region Western Australia
Native speakers
7 (2016 census)[1]
  • (Western)
    • Worrorra
  • Worrorra
  • Unggumi
  • Yawidjibara
  • Windjarumi
  • Unggarrangu
  • Umiida[2]
Worora Kinship Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 unpinclusive code
Individual codes:
wro  Worrorra
xgu  Unggumi
xud  Umiida
xun  Unggarranggu
jbw  Yawijibaya
Glottolog west2435[3]
AIATSIS[4] K17 Worrorra, K14 Unggumi, K49 Umiida, K55* Unggarrangu, K53* Yawijibaya

Worrorra (Worora), or Western Worrorran, is a moribund Australian Aboriginal language of northern Western Australia.

Worrorra is a dialect cluster; Bowern (2011) recognizes five languages: Worrorra proper, Unggumi, Yawijibaya, Unggarranggu, and Umiida.[6]

An alleged Maialnga language was a reported clan name of Worrorra proper that could not be confirmed with speakers.[7]

Sign language

The Worora have (or at one point had) a signed form of their language, used for speaking to kin in certain taboo relationships,[8] but it is not clear from records that it was particularly well developed compared to other Australian Aboriginal sign languages.[9]


  1. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". stat.data.abs.gov.au. ABS. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  2. Clendon (1994, 2000), Love (2000), cited in Dixon 2002
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Western Worrorran". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Worrorra at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  5. map is indicative only.
  6. Bowern, Claire. 2011. "How Many Languages Were Spoken in Australia? Archived 2012-08-15 at the Wayback Machine.", Anggarrgoon: Australian languages on the web, December 23, 2011 (corrected Archived 2012-07-03 at the Wayback Machine. February 6, 2012)
  7. Tindale, Norman B. (Norman Barnett); Jones, Rhys (1974), Aboriginal tribes of Australia : their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names, University of California Press ; Canberra : Australian National University Press, ISBN 978-0-520-02005-4
  8. Love, J.R.B. (1941). Worora kinship gestures, Reprinted in Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, 1978, vol. 2, pp. 403–405.
  9. Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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