Last changed: 5 October 2003

Languages of SE WA

  • background language information
  • background references additional to those in Thieberger's Handbook
  • Gara, Tom. 1993. Early observations of the mammals of the Nullabor Plain and Great Victoria Desert in South Australia. Draft.77+[4]pp.
  • McKenzie, N.L. & A.C. Robinson. 1987. A Biological Survey of the Nullarbor Region, South and Western Australia in 1984. SA Dept. of Environment and Planning, WA CALM, Aust. Nat. Parks and Wildlife Service. x+413pp. ISBN 724388850
  • Nash, David. 2002 Historical linguistic geography of south-east Western Australia, pp.205ff in Language and Native Title, ed. by John Henderson & David Nash. Canberra: AIATSIS Native Title Research Unit, Aboriginal Studies Press.
  • O’Grady, Geoff. 2001. Two southern Australian vocabularies: Parnkalla (Barngarla) and Karlamayi, pp.291-303 in Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages, ed. by Jane Simpson et al. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics 512.
  • two popular articles on the Nuytsland Reserve published in the now defunct journal Swans 6(3),55-56 and 9(2),47-48.
  • Chanda, Mary. 2003. Reviving an endangered language: the case of the Mirning language, pp.109-112 in Maintaining the Links: Language, Identity and the Land, ed. by Joe Blythe & R. McKenna Brown. Proceedings of the Seventh FEL Conference. Broome. Western Australia. 22-24 September. Bath, UK: Foundation for Endangered Languages.  ISBN 0-9538248-5-3
  • toponymy
  • Information on Ngatjumaya (and other languages of SE WA)

    The primary reference is
    Brandenstein, C.G. von (1980) Ngadjumaja: an Aboriginal language of south-east Western Australia, Institut für Sprachwissenshaft der Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck.



    The spelling system follows applicable in WA to other languages including the Western Desert Language, as seen in this chart of the consonants.
                            inter   apico-    apico-  lamino-   dorso-
                  bilabial  dental  alveolar  domal   alveolar  velar
    stops            p        th      t       rt       tj         k
    nasals           m        nh      n       rn       ny        ng
    laterals                  lh      l       rl       ly
    flap                              rr
    glides           w                        r        y
    The vowels are i, a, u. Long vowels are written ii, aa, uu. Word-initially, and after a hyphen, rl, rn, rt are written l, n, t respectively. Especially within roots, /lyj,nyj/ may be written /lj,nj/ respectively. Alphabetical order is normal, with composite letters regarded as broken into constituents, except that initial /n/ always precedes initial /ng/. Hyphen is regarded as ordered before /a/.

     A more complex orthography is used in von Brandenstein's grammar. The main differences from the above are:

    1. von Brandenstein uses n, l for nh, lh respectively, and nn, ll for n, l respectively
    2. word-internal glides (semivowels) are indicated by an underlined vowel, i.e. i for y, u for w; also von Brandenstein uses j for y
    3. von Brandenstein recognises a glottal stop "?" and uvular stop "q", probably allophones of /k/
    4. palatal consonants are indicated by an acute stroke rather than a digraph with j
    5. von Brandenstein uses voiced consonant symbols for root-internal stops, and voiceless symbols for root-initial stops
    There are other minor additions in von Brandenstein's spelling, where he prefers a more phonetic transcription (e.g. with v, q, and geminates).

    © 1999  David Nash

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    Date created: 19 October 1998
    Last modified: 5 October 2003