Badimaya language

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Native toAustralia
RegionMurchison area of Western Australia
EthnicityBadimaya, Widi
Native speakers
3 (2016)[1]
  • Northern, Southern
Language codes
ISO 639-3bia

Badimaya (sometimes spelt Badimia) is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is a member of the Kartu subgroup of the Pama–Nyungan family.

Badimaya is a critically endangered language, spoken by only a handful of elderly Aboriginal people, all of whom are over 65 years of age.[3]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Badimaya was traditionally spoken across a large region spanning Lake Moore, Ninghan Station, Paynes Find and Dalwallinu in the south, to Mount Magnet, Wynyangoo Station and Kirkalocka Station in the north

Today Badimaya people are found scattered across the Mid West region,[a] based in regional towns and communities including Mount Magnet, Geraldton, Yalgoo, Mullewa, Meekatharra, Wubin, Dalwallinu and Perth.[4]

Traditional Badimaya country is bordered by Western Desert language (Tjuparn, Wanmala) to the east, Noongar to the south-west and Wajarri to the north-west.


Widi may have been another name for Badimaya, or for a particular variety of it.[3]

Analysis of the lexicon and grammatical features of the language suggests that there were (at least) two varieties of Badimaya, a northern and southern variety. These varieties are unnamed; however, Badimaya speakers are aware of differences in the speech of Badimaya people from different regions of Badimaya country.


Badimaya is typologically fairly standard of Western Australian Pama-Nyungan languages. It has a phoneme inventory typical of Pama-Nyungan languages, with six places of articulation (showing both a laminal and apical contrast) and a three-way vowel system, with (limited) length-contrast.

Badimaya is a suffixing language with fairly free word order. It has a split-ergative case marking system, consistent with neighbouring languages. Unlike neighbouring languages however, Badimaya does not show evidence for a bound pronominal system.

Language resources[edit]

The Bundiyarra Irra Wangga Language Centre (and previously the Yamaji Language Centre) has been carrying out work on the Badimaya language since 1993, and has produced a dictionary, illustrated wordlist, grammatical materials (currently unpublished), as well as various bilingual story books. A grammar sketch of Badimaya was published by Leone Dunn in 1988.


  1. ^ Traditionally the region is known as the Murchison.


  1. ^ "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". ABS. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Badimaya". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c A14 Badimaya at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ Bednall, 2014
  • Bednall, James (compiler). 2014. 'Badimaya Dictionary: an Aboriginal language of Western Australian'. Bundiyarra Irra Wangga Language Centre, Geraldton WA.
  • Dunn, Leone. 1988. 'Badimaya, a Western Australian language' pp. 19–49 in Papers in Australian Linguistics No. 17, Pacific Linguistics, Canberra.

External links[edit]