Ngarla language

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Native to Port Hedland area of Western Australia
Ethnicity Ngarla
Extinct by 2005[1][2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nrk
Glottolog ngar1296[3]
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Ngarla is a Pama–Nyungan language of coastal Western Australia. It is possibly mutually intelligible with Panyjima and Martuthunira, but the three are considered distinct languages.

Ngarla is a member of the Ngayarda branch of the Pama–Nyungan languages. Dench (1995) believed there was insufficient data to enable it to be confidently classified, but Bowern & Koch (2004) include it without proviso.

Ngarla is spoken near Port Hedland. The "Ngarla" on the Ashburton River is a dialect of a different, though possibly related, language, Yinhawangka.



Bilabial Dorso-velar Lamino-palatal Apico-alveolar Retroflex
Nasal m ŋ ɲ̻ ɳ
Stop p k ʈ
Lateral ʎ̻ ɭ
Rhotic ɾ ɽ
Semivowel w j


Front Back
High i iː u uː
Low a aː

The long vowels are rare.[citation needed]


Tense markers

Ngarla tense markers for verbs:[5]

Tense marker Tense
-n past
-ngkaya present
-kuRa future


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference aiatsis was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ngarla". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Ngarla at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  5. ^ Languages of the World: Indo-Pacific Fascicle Six”, Geoffrey O’Grady, C. F. Voegelin and F. M. Voegelin (1966:82)


  • ”A grammatical sketch of Ngarla: A language of Western Australia”, Torbjörn Westerlund, 2007 (PDF version).

External links

  • A grammatical sketch of Ngarla: A language of Western Australia
  • Wangka Maya

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