Walmajarri language

Walmajarri language

Infobox Language
region=Western Australia
script=Latin alphabet

Walmajarri (many other names; see below) is a South-West Pama-Nyungan language spoken in Western Australia.


Names for this language include:
*Walmajarri, Walmatjarri, Walmatjari, Walmadjari, Walmatjiri, Walmajiri, Walmatjeri, Walmadjeri, Walmadyeri, Walmaharri, Wolmeri, Wolmera, Wulmari
*Bililuna, Pililuna
*Jiwarliny, Juwaliny, Tjiwaling, Tjiwarlin

The Speakers

Communities with Walmajarri population are:
* Bayulu
* Djugerari (Cherrabun)
* Junjuwa (Fitzroy Crossing)
* Looma
* Millijidee
* Mindibungu (Bililuna)
* Mindi Rardi (Fitzroy Crossing)
* Mulan
* Ngumpan
* Wangkajungka (Christmas Creek)
* Yakunarra
* Yungngora

The Walmajarri people used to live in the Great Sandy Desert. Subsequent events took them to the cattle stations, towns and missions in the North and scattered them over a wide area. The geographical distance accounts for the fact that there are several dialects, which have been further polarized by the lack of contact and further influenced by neighbouring languages.





Warlmajarri is a suffixing language. There are no prefixes.


Warlmajarri has 4 syntactic cases: nominative, ergative, dative and assessory case. The cases assign different meanings to the noun phrases of a sentence. Therefore, the word order can vary quite freely. Subject, Object or Verb can appear initial, final, medial in sentence.

However, the second position of a sentence is always reserved for the Verbal Auxiliary. Sometimes referred to as a Catalyst, the Verbal Auxiliary indicates the mood of a sentence (similar to the English auxiliaries), but also cross-references its noun phrases. The person and number of the noun phrases in their syntactic cases are shown in the Verbal Auxiliary.


* Hudson, Joyce. (1978). "The Walmatjari: An Introduction to the Language and Culture". Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics
* Hudson, Joyce. (1978). "The core of Walmatjari grammar". Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. New Jersey, U.S.A.: Humanities Press Inc.
* Hudson, Joyce & Richards, Eirlys. (1969). "The phonology of Walmatjari".
* Hudson, Joyce & Richards, Eirlys. (1990). "Walmajarri – English Dictionary". Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics

External links

* [http://coombs.anu.edu.au/WWWVLPages/AborigPages/LANG/WA/4_5_8.htm Handbook of Western Australian languages South of the Kimberly] (Walmajarri)
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=wmt Ethnologue report for language code:wmt]

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