Adnyamathanha language

Adnyamathanha language
Spoken in South Australia
Native speakers 20  (1990)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 adt

Adnyamathanha (many other names; see below) is a moribund Australian Aboriginal language. It is the traditional language of the Adnyamathanha people.

The name of the witchetty grub comes from Adnyamathanha.



This language has been known by many names and variants of names, including:

  • Adnyamathanha, Adynyamathanha, Adjnjamathanha, Atʸnʸamat̪an̪a, Adnjamathanha, Adnyamathana, Anyamathana, Ad'n'amadana, Anjimatana, Anjiwatana, Unyamootha
  • Wailpi, Wailbi, Waljbi, Wipie, the name of a dialect
  • Archualda
  • Benbakanjamata
  • Binbarnja
  • Gadjnjamada, Kanjimata, Keydnjmarda
  • Jandali
  • Mardala
  • Nimalda
  • Nuralda
  • Umbertana


R. M. W. Dixon classifies Adnyamathanha and Guyani as a single language, Adjnjamathanha/Guyani. Ethnologue treats them as separate, and so they each have their own ISO 639-3 codes.



Front Back
High i iː u uː
Low a aː


Peripheral Laminal Apical
Labial Velar Palatal Dental Alveolar Retroflex Glottal
Stop Voiceless p k c t ʈ (ʔ)
Voiced (ɖ)
Fricative Voiced (v)
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n ɳ
Lateral ʎ l ɭ
Flap ɾ ɽ
Trill r
Approximant w j ɻ

[v] may be an allophone of /p/.


While the closely related Guyani retains word-initial stops, Adnyamathanha has undergone systematic lenition of stops in this position. Former *p has become [v], former *t̪ and probably also *c have become /j/, and former *k has disappeared entirely.


Adnyamathanha has a complex system of personal pronouns. There are 10 different ways of saying ‘you and me’ (first person dual), depending on the relationship between the speaker and the person addressed.


External links

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