Ngarla language

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Native to Port Hedland area of Western Australia
Native speakers
4  (2010)[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.



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 [4]

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


  1. ^ Westerlund, T: När engelskan kom till Australien, page 51. Språktidningen, February 2010. (In Swedish)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Ngarla". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Ngarla at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ 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]