Light Warlpiri

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Light Warlpiri
Region Northern Territory, Australia
Native speakers
350  (2013)[1]
mixed KriolWarlpiri
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog ligh1234[2]

Light Warlpiri is a mixed language of Australia, with indigenous Warlpiri, Kriol, and Standard Australian English as its source languages. First documented by linguist Carmel O'Shannessy of the University of Michigan, it is spoken in the Lajamanu community, mostly by people under the age of 35. As of 2013, there were 350 native speakers of Light Warlpiri, although all of the speakers also knew traditional Warlpiri and many speak Kriol and English.[1]


Like other mixed languages, such as Gurindji Kriol, Michif and Medny Aleut, Light Warlpiri takes its nominal and verbal systems from different source languages. Most nouns are from Warlpiri or English, and take Warlpiri case-marking; but, most verbs and the verbal inflection/auxiliary structure is both borrowed and significantly reanalyzed from Kriol and Australian Aboriginal English.


Light Warlpiri appears to have originated in the 1980s as a codification and expansion of the Warlpiri/English codeswitching patterns seen in members of the community over age 35. Within the community, it is perceived as a form of Warlpiri, although it is not always comprehensible to older speakers.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bakalar, Nicholas (14 July 2013). "Linguist Finds a Language in Its Infancy". New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Light Warlpiri". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Jill Reilly,"World's newest language discovered in remote Australian town (but only 350 people speak it and they're all under 35)"[1], DailyMail,12:15 GMT, 15 July 2013.