Diyari language

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RegionSouth Australia
  • Diyari
  • Dirari (Dhirari)
  • Pirlatapa?
Dieri Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
dif – Diyari
dit – Dirari
bxi – Pirlatapa
pirl1239  Dieric, incl. Ngamini[1]
AIATSIS[2]L17 Diyari, L14 Dhirari, L11 Pirladapa
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Diyari /ˈdjɑːri/ or Dieri /ˈdɪəri/[3] is an Australian Aboriginal language of South Australia.

Dirari (extinct late 20th century) was a dialect. Pirlatapa (extinct by the 1960s) may have been as well; data is poor. The information below is from Diyari proper.



Front Back
High i u
Low a


Peripheral Laminal Apical
Bilabial Velar Palatal Dental Alveolar Retroflex
Stop Voiceless p k c t ʈ
Voiced d~dʳ ɖ
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n̪ ~ d̪n̪ n ~ dn ɳ
Lateral ʎ l̪ ~ d̪l̪ l ~ dl ɭ
Trill [r]
Flap [ɾ]
Approximant w j ɻ

Several of the nasals and laterals are allophonically prestopped.[4]

The voiced alveolar stop [d] may have trilled release [dʳ] depending on dialect. Peter Austin (1988) suggests that this is due to Yandruwanhdha influence.

The voiced retroflex stop /ɖ/ often becomes a tap [ɽ] between vowels.

The stop [d]~[dʳ] is in complementary distribution with both the trill [r] and the flap [ɾ]. Austin (1981) analysed the trill [r] as being the intervocalic allophone of /d/~/dʳ/, with the flap /ɾ/ being a separate phoneme. R. M. W. Dixon (2002) suggests that [ɾ] could be considered the intervocalic allophone of /d/~/dʳ/, so then /r/ would be a separate phoneme. Having /d/ realized as [ɾ] would parallel the realization of /ɖ/ as [ɽ], and having /r/ rather than /ɾ/ as a phoneme matches most other Australian languages.


Diyari has three different morphosyntactic alignments:


The Diyari had a highly developed sign language.[5]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pirlatapa–Dieric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Diyari at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Jeff Mielke, 2008. The emergence of distinctive features, p 135
  5. ^ Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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