Adnyamathanha language

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Region South Australia
Native speakers
110  (2006 census)[1]
  • Thura-Yura
    • Yura
      • Adnyamathanha–Kuyani
        • Adnyamathana
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
adt – Adnyamathanha
gvy – Guyani
AIATSIS[2] L10, L9
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Adnyamathanha (Pronounced: /ˈɑːdnjəˌmʌdənə/) (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

Guyani is also spelled Kijani, Kuyani, Kwiani.


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


Adjnjamathanha and Guyani have the same phonemic inventory.


Front Back
High i iː u uː
Low a aː


Most of the nasals and laterals are allophonically prestopped.[3]

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 ~ bm ŋ ɲ ~ ɟɲ n̪ ~ d̪n̪ n ~ dn ɳ ~ ɖɳ
Lateral ʎ ~ ɟʎ l̪ ~ d̪l̪ l ~ dl ɭ ~ ɖɭ
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.


  1. ^ Adnyamathanha at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Guyani at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Adnyamathana at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  3. ^ Jeff Mielke, 2008. The emergence of distinctive features, p 135