Pitta Pitta language

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Pitta Pitta
EthnicityPitapita, Ringaringa, Rakkaia, Karanya, Kungkalenja, Maiawali
Extinct2 cited in 1979[1]
  • Pitta-Pitta
  • Ringu-Ringu
  • Rakaya
  • Ngulupulu/Karanja
  • Kunkalanja
  • Mayawarli (Maiawali)[2]
Pitha Pitha Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3pit – inclusive code
Individual code:
yxa – Mayawali (Maiawali)
Glottologpitt1247  Pitta Pitta[3]
AIATSIS[4]G6 Pitta Pitta (other dialects listed from here)

Pitta Pitta (also known under several other spellings) is an extinct Australian Aboriginal language. It was spoken around Boulia, Queensland.


The name pituri for the leaves chewed as a stimulant by traditional Aboriginal people has been claimed to be derived from the Pitta Pitta word pijiri.[5][6]though Walter Roth pointed out in 1897 that the word 'pituri', thus pronounced, was the term used by the neighbouring Yurlayurlanya people, and added that the Pitta Pitta people called it ''tarembola.[7]


In 1979, Barry J. Blake reported that Pitta Pitta was "virtually extinct", with only three speakers remaining – Ivy Nardoo of Boulia, Ted Marshall and Linda Craigie of Mount Isa.[1] It is now considered unlikely that any speakers remain.[8]

Sign language[edit]

The Pitta Pitta had well-developed a signed form of their language.[9]


  1. ^ a b Barry J. Blake (1979). "Pitta-Pitta". In Robert M. W. Dixon & Barry J. Blake (ed.). Handbook of Australian Languages. 1. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 183–242. ISBN 90-272-0512-4.
  2. ^ RMW Dixon (2002), Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development, p xxxvii
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pitta Pitta". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ G6 Pitta Pitta (other dialects listed from here) at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  5. ^ Philip A. Clarke (2007). "The power of plants". Aboriginal People and their Plants. Rosenberg Publishers. pp. 96–110. ISBN 978-1-877058-51-6.
  6. ^ Philip A. Clarke (2008). "Making plant names". Aboriginal Plant Collectors: Botanists and Australian Aboriginal People in the Nineteenth Century. Rosenberg Publishers. pp. 42–57. ISBN 978-1-877058-68-4.
  7. ^ Roth 1897, p. 51.
  8. ^ "Pitta Pitta: an extinct language of Australia". Ethnologue. SIL International. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  9. ^ Adam Kendon (1988). Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36008-1.
  • Roth, W. E. (1897). Ethnological Studies among the North-West-Central Queensland Aborigines. Brisbane: Edmund Gregory, Government Printer.
  • Roth, Walter E. (1897). The expression of ideas by manual signs: a sign-language. (p. 273–301) Reprinted from Roth, W.E. Ethnological studies among the North-West-Central Queensland Aborigines. London, Queensland Agent-Generals Information Office, 1897; 71–90; Information collected from the following tribes; Pitta-Pitta, Boinji, Ulaolinya, Wonkajera, Walookera, Undekerebina, Kalkadoon, Mitakoodi, Woonamurra, Goa. Reprinted (1978) in Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, vol. 2.

External links[edit]