Ngarla language

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Native to Port Hedland area of Western Australia
Native speakers
0 (2015)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nrk
Glottolog ngar1286[2]
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Ngarla is a Pama–Nyungan language of Western Australia. It is possibly mutually intelligible with Panyjima and Martuthunira, but the three are considered distinct languages.

Ngarla is classified as 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.

According to the Australian Indigenous Languages Database (AUSTLANG), 6 speakers are older than 60, 4 are between the ages of 49-59, 4 are between 20-39, and 4 are younger than 19 years, indicating a total of only about 18 speakers. The NILS gives Ngarla an endangerment grade of 1, on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the least endangered and 0 being nearly extinct.[4]

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[edit]

Ngarla tense markers for verbs:[5]

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


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ngarla". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Ngarla at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ "AUSTLANG". Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  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[edit]