World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Western Desert Language

Article Id: WHEBN0002993568
Reproduction Date:

Title: Western Desert Language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Burarra language, Languages of Australia, Garawan languages, Dhuwal language, Macro-Gunwinyguan languages
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Western Desert Language

Western Desert
Wati
Native to Australia
Region Desert areas of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory
Native speakers
7,600  (2006 census)[1]
Pama–Nyungan
  • Wati
    • Western Desert
Dialects
Yulparitja
Manjtjiltjara (Martu Wangka)
Kartutjarra
Kukatja
Luritja
Wangkatha
Wangkatja (Nyanganyatjara)
Ngaliya (Ooldean)
Kukarta[2]
Western Desert Sign Language
Manjiljarra Sign Language
Ngada Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
ant – Antikirinya
ktd – Kokata (Kukarta)
kux – Kukatja
mpj – Martu Wangka
ntj – Ngaanyatjarra
piu – Pintupi-Luritja
pjt – Pitjantjatjara
kdd – Yankunytjatjara
pti – Pintiini (Wangkatja)
pii – Pini
xny – Nyiyaparli
AIATSIS[3] A80*
Glottolog wati1241  (Wati)[4]
}
Wati languages (green) among Pama–Nyungan (tan)

The Western Desert language, or Wati, is a dialect cluster of Australian Aboriginal languages in the Pama–Nyungan family.

The name Wati tends to be used when considering the various varieties to be distinct languages, Western Desert when considering them dialects of a single language, or Wati as Wanman plus the Western Desert cluster.

Location and list of communities

The speakers of the various dialects of the Western Desert Language traditionally lived across much of the desert areas of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Most Western Desert people live in communities on or close to their traditional lands, although some now live in one of the towns fringing the desert area such as Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Alice Springs, Port Augusta, Meekatharra, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

The following is a partial list of Western Desert communities:

Dialect continuum

The Western Desert Language consists of a network of closely related dialects; the names of some of these have become quite well known (such as Pitjantjatjara) and are often referred to as 'languages'. As the whole group of dialects which constitutes the language does not have its own name it is usually referred to as the Western Desert Language. WDL speakers referring to the overall language use various terms including wangka 'language' or wangka yuti 'clear speech'. For native speakers this language is mutually intelligible across its entire range.

Dialects

Some of the named varieties of the Western Desert Language, with their approximate locations, are:

Starred names are listed as separate languages in Bowern (2011 [2012]).

Other names associated with Western Desert, though they may not be distinct varieties, include Dargudi (Targudi), Djalgandi (Djalgadjara), Kiyajarra (Giyadjara), Nakako, Nana (Nganawongka), Waljen, Wirdinya, and perhaps Mudalga.

Language

Status of the language

The Western Desert Language has thousands of speakers, making it one of the strongest indigenous Australian languages. The language is still being transmitted to children and has substantial amounts of literature, particularly in the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara dialects in South Australia where there was formerly a long-running bilingual program.

Phonology

In the following tables of the WDL sound system, symbols in boldface give a typical practical orthography used by many WDL communities. Further details of orthographies in use in different areas is given below. Phonetic values in IPA are shown in [square brackets].

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i [i], ii [iː] u [u], uu [uː]
Open a [a], aa [aː]

The Western Desert Language has the common (for Australia) three-vowel system with a length distinction creating a total of six possible vowels.

Consonants

Peripheral Laminal Apical
Bilabial Velar Palatal Alveolar Retroflex
Stop p [p] k [k] tj [c] t [t] rt [ʈ ]
Nasal m [m] ng [ŋ] ny [ɲ] n [n] rn [ɳ ]
Trill rr [r]
Lateral ly [ʎ] l [l] rl [ɭ ]
Approximant w [w] y [j] r [ɻ ]

As shown in the chart, the WDL distinguishes five positions of articulation, and has oral and nasal occlusives at each position. The stops have no phonemic voice distinction, but display voiced and unvoiced allophones; stops are usually unvoiced at the beginning of a word, and voiced elsewhere. In both positions they are usually unaspirated. There are no fricative consonants.

Orthography

While the dialects of the WDL have very similar phonologies there are several different orthographies in use. This results from the preferences of the different early researchers as well as the fact that the WDL region extends into three states (Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory), with each having its own history of language research and educational policy.

Sign language

Most of the peoples of central Australia have (or at one point had) signed forms of their languages. Among the Western Desert peoples, sign language has been reported specifically for Kardutjara and Yurira Watjalku,[6] Ngaatjatjarra (Ngada),[7] and Manjiljarra. Signed Kardutjara and Yurira Watjalku are known to have been well-developed, though it is not clear from records that signed Ngada and Manjiljarra were.[8]

References

  1. ^ Antikirinya] at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    [http://www.ethnologue.com/language/ktd Kokata (Kukarta) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Kukatja at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Martu Wangka at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    [1]Ngaanyatjarra] at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    [http://www.ethnologue.com/language/piu Pintupi-Luritja] at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Western Desert at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Wati". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  5. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Yulparija". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  6. ^ Miller, Wick R. (1978). A report on the sign language of the Western Desert (Australia). Reprinted in Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, 1978, vol. 2, pp. 435–440.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Goddard, C. 1985. A Grammar of Yankunytjatjara. Alice Springs: IAD.

External links

  • Ngapartji Online course of Pitjantjatjara language, and related performance event 2006.
  • Handbook of Western Australian Aboriginal Languages South of the Kimberley'Western Desert' section of
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.