Paakantyi (Darling language)

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Native toAustralia
EthnicityPaakantyi, Kula (Kurnu), Naualko, Paaruntyi, Parrintyi, Wilyakali (Wiljali), Danggali, Maraura, Wanjiwalku
Native speakers
4 (2005) to 42 (2016 census)[1]
  • Yarli–Baagandji
    • Darling
  • ?Gurnu (Guula)
  • Naualko
  • Baarundji
  • Barrindji
  • Wiljaali
  • Dhanggaali (Thangkaali)
  • Bulaali
  • Wanyuparlku (Wanyuparlku)
  • Pantyikali
  • Marawara (Maraura)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3drl
Darling language.png
The Darling language (green) among other Pama–Nyungan (tan)

The Darling language, or Paakantyi (Baagandji), is a nearly extinct Australian Aboriginal language spoken along the Darling River in New South Wales from present-day Bourke to Wentworth and including much of the back country around the Paroo River and Broken Hill. The people's and language name refers to the Paaka (Darling River) with the suffix -ntyi meaning 'belonging to',[5]

The major work on the Paakantyi language has been that of linguist Luise Hercus.[5]


Dialects of Paakantyi include Southern Paakantyi (Baagandji, Bagundji), Kurnu (Kula), Wilyakali (Wiljagali), and Pantyikali-Wanyiwalku (Wanyuparlku, Bandjigali, Baarundji), Parrintyi (Barrindji), Marawara (Maraura). Bowern (2011) lists Gurnu/Guula as a separate language, though Hercus includes it because of its almost identical vocabulary.[6] Dixon adds several other names, some perhaps synonyms;[2] Bulaali (Bulali) may have been an alternative name for Wilyakali, but also for a different language, Maljangapa.[7]

However; Tindale (1940) mapped the 'Rite of Circumcision' border around Wanyiwalku separating it from the rest of Paakantyi - Tindale instead groups Wanyiwalku together with Maljangapa, Wadikali & Karenggapa of the Yarli language.

Current status[edit]

The Darling language is nearly extinct, with a recent report indicating that only two people could speak the language fluently.[8]



Labial Dental Palatal Alveolar Retroflex Velar
Stop p c t ʈ k
Nasal m ɲ n ɳ ŋ
Lateral ʎ l ɭ
Rhotic ɾ~r
Approximant w j ɻ


Front Central Back
Close ɪ, i ʊ, u
Open ʌ, a



  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  2. ^ a b Dixon, R. M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Cambridge University Press. p. xxxvi.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Paakantyi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ D12 Darling at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  5. ^ a b Luise Hercus. Baagandji Grammar, ANU 1960; Paakantyi Dictionary (published with the assistance of AIATSIS, 1993)
  6. ^ Luise Hercus. Paakantyi Dictionary (published with the assistance of AIATSIS, 1993)
  7. ^ D11 Bulali at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  8. ^ Paul, Margaret. "Funding sought for Aboriginal language classes". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  9. ^ Andersen, Elena (2015). Development of a Learner’s Grammar for Paakantyi. University of Sydney.

External links[edit]