Institute of Applied Language Studies, Western Australian College of Advanced Education
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
Institute of Applied Language Studies
THE WESTERN DESERT LANGUAGE is the most widely spoken Aboriginal language in Australia. Dialects of this language a.re spoken in the vast area between Kalgoorlie and Alice Springs, Ceduna (South Australia) and Wiluna (Western Australia).
Today, radio waves speeding across the Central Desert a.re bristling with two-way chatter in the speech sounds of Pitjantjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra, Pintupi and other variants of the Western Desert language.
'YANAP' - short for the Yankuntjatjara-Ngaanyatjarra-Pitjantjatjara Air Service - carries speakers of these dialects from the Alice to Kalgoorlie, to the Aboriginal communities at such places as Docker River, Ernabella, Amata, Mt. Davies, Jameson, Blackstone, Warakurna, Kintore, Warburton, Laverton and Wiluna.
This small dictionary of 2,400 basic vocabulary items is an introduction only to the richness of the speech of the Desert dwellers. Many thousands of different words are used in the life time of a tribal man or woman to express the totality of their Aboriginal world view.