Martu Wangka

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Martu Mangka
Ethnicity Kartudjara, Manjiljarra
Native speakers
724 (2016 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mpj

Martu Wangka is an Australian aboriginal language that has emerged in recent times as several indigenous indigenous communities shifted from their respective tribal territories to form a single community.


Martu Wangka developed after two tribes, the Kartudjara and the Manjiljarra came in from the Western desert to settle into Jigalong during the 1960s. Though tribally distinct, they spoke two mutually intelligible dialects of the Western Desert language family. Through daily cohabitation, they developed what is technically known as a communalect. In this process, elements of the two languages are selected to fuse into a single shared idiom, thus forming a lingua franca distinct from the originative dialects of the various groups who settled down to live together.[2]

As other tribal groups drifted in to join the new community, several other constituent dialects added to the process of formation. These include also Puditara, Wangkajunga, and Yulparitja.[3]

Recent studies

Martu Wangka developed rapidly, permitting James Marsh to write a dictionary of the language within two decades, consisting of over 400 pages, and which was published in 1992.[4]



  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  2. ^ Mühlhäusler & McGregor 1996, p. 117.
  3. ^ Glottolog 2017.
  4. ^ Marsh 1992.


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