There are between 14 and 16 distinct Aboriginal languages in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The work on recording, linguistically analysing and preserving these languages in dictionaries and grammar documents is still in the early stages. Once the work on each language has been undertaken, we will be able to say for sure how many languages there are or which languages are dialects of each other.

GALC has released a paper Languages and Dialects of the Goldfields Region’, January 2018, by linguist Sue Hanson about the names of the languages of the region.

The GALC 30-page booklet ‘How to Read and Write Goldfields Languages’ is available as a free download here. Or can be purchased at GALC’s office. This booklet contains the alphabets for all Goldfields languages and information on why particular letters have been chosen to represent the sounds.

NOTE ON MAP: The location of language names are approximate and may not be located on traditional land. The names and locations are for illustration purposes only

Since 2011, linguistic work has been undertaken on: (click on the language name to go to the language info page)

Tjupan – AIATSIS code A31 (of Western Desert language A80)

Kaalamaya -AIATSIS code A4 (Kaalamaya language of the Gubrun people)

Ngadju – AIATSIS code A3 (Ngatjumaya/Ngadjumaya)

Ngalia – AIATSIS code C2 (of Western Desert language A80)

Cundeelee Wangka – no code, speakers describe as a southern Pitjantjantjarra

Kuwarra – AIATSIS code A16 (of Western Desert language A80)

Then in 2016, with an increase in funds from the Commonwealth Government, linguistic work began on the languages:

Maduwongga AIATSIS code A86

Manyjilyjar – A32 AIATSIS reference name Nakako

Wangkatja – AIATSIS code A12 and A103, possibly is also Pindiini AIATSIS code A102 or dialects of

Mirning – AIATSIS code A9

Marlpa – no AIATSIS code, appears to be a dialect or variant of Ngaju

Several languages cross state borders. The languages that have been well documented in NT and SA and which are also found in the Goldfields WA are:

Ngaanyatjarra – AIATSIS code A38

Nyanatjarra – a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

Ngaatjatjara – AIATSIS code A43, a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

Pitjantjantjarra – A80 AIATSIS code C6

Yankunytjatjara– AIATSIS code C4 A80


Other language names that have arisen and need investigation with Goldfields speakers are:

  1. Natingero
  2. Nugara
  3. Watjanmay
  4. Tjapanmay
  5. Gula
  6. Djalgandi
  7. Mudalga
  8. Marawa
  9. Tjeraridjal
  10. Murunitja
  11. Marawa
  12. Kalaako, Kaalako
  13. Nganta
  14. Pindiini
  15. Mudalga
  16. Mankulatjarra
  17. Tjalkatjarra