Wajarri language

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Not to be confused with Wudjari language.
Native to Australia
Region Murchison area of Western Australia
Ethnicity 200 (1981)[1]
Native speakers
20 (2005) to 86  (2006 census)[2]
  • Kartu
    • Watjarri languages
      • Wajarri
? Nhugarn
? Ngarluwangka
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wbv
Glottolog waja1257[3]

Wajarri is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is one of the Kartu languages of the Pama–Nyungan family. Ngarlawangka may be a separate language.

Geographic distribution[edit]

Wajarri country is inland from Geraldton, Western Australia, and extends as far south and west as Mullewa, north to Gascoyne Junction and east to Meekatharra. The Yamaji Language Centre has been carrying out work on the Wajarri language since 1993 and has produced an illustrated wordlist as well as grammatical materials and a dictionary (the latter two unpublished). Sketch grammars of Wajarri have been written by Wilfrid Douglas (1981) and Marmion (1996).

History and current status[edit]

Since July 2005, the Irra Wangga – Geraldton Language Programme has continued work on the Wajarri language, producing publications, working with schools involved in the teaching of the language, and holding weekly community language classes (current 2008). In 2008 Wajarri became the first Australian Aboriginal language available at senior secondary level (TEE) in the state of Western Australia.

People who are Wajarri speakers, or who are descended primarily from Wajarri speakers also refer to themselves as Wajarri. The word for 'man' in Wajarri is yamaji and this word is also commonly used by Wajarri people to refer to themselves. Depending on the context yamaji may also be used to refer to other Aboriginal people, particularly people from the Murchison-Gascoyne region.


  1. ^ Wajarri language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b Wajarri at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Wajarri". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Boddington, Ross and Boddinton, Olive. 1996. The Budara Story. Magabala Books.
  • Douglas, Wilfrid H. 1981. 'Watjarri'. In Dixon, R.M.W. and Blake, Barry J (Eds.), Handbook of Australian Languages: Vol. 2. ANU Press.
  • Marmion, Douglas. 1996. A description of the morphology of Wajarri. Unpublished Hons. thesis, University of New England.