Yinggarda language

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Native toAustralia
RegionGascoyne coast area of Western Australia; Shark Bay coast between Gascoyne and Wooramel rivers, inland to Red Hill, West Pilbara
EthnicityYingkarta (Tedei, Mandi), ?Maia
Native speakers
2 (2005)[1]
  • Southwest (Kartu?)
    • Yinggarda
  • ? Maya
Language codes
ISO 639-3yia
AIATSIS[1]W19 Inggarda, W20 Maya

The Yinggarda language (also written Yingkarta and Inggarda) is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is an endangered language, but efforts at language revival are being made.


"Yinggarda" has been spelt in a number of ways, some linguists (including Dench) writing it as "Yingkarta".


It is one of the Kartu languages of the Pama–Nyungan family. The Ethnologue equates Yinggarda with Pulinya[3] but it is unclear what the basis is for this connection as Wilfrid Douglas, who recorded the name 'Pulinya,' described it as a name for the old Geraldton language.

Unattested Maya (Maia) is reported to have been "like" Yinggarda and may have been a dialect.



Peripheral Laminal Apical
Labial Velar Dental Palatal Alveolar Retroflex
Stop p k ɟ t ʈ
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n ɳ
Lateral ʎ l ɭ
Rhotic ɾ~r
Approximant w j ɻ
  • /ɾ/ can be heard as a trill [r] when preceding consonants, and can also be heard as a glide [ɹ] when in intervocalic position.
  • Stops /k, t̪, ʈ/ are heard as [ɣ, ð, ɽ] when in intervocalic position.[4]


Front Back
High i iː u uː
Low a aː


Yinggarda country is around Carnarvon, on the central western coast of Western Australia, and extends inland to near Gascoyne Junction and south to around the mouth of the Wooramel River.

Language revival[edit]

A dictionary of Yinggarda by Peter K. Austin was published in 1992. A sketch grammar was written by Alan Dench in 1998, who worked with some of the last speakers and carried out his research mainly in the 1970s and 1980s. The Yamaji Language Centre, now the Irra Wangga Language Centre, has been continuing to work on the Yinggarda language since 1993.[5]

As of 2020, Yinggarda is one of 20 languages prioritised as part of the Priority Languages Support Project, being undertaken by First Languages Australia and funded by the Department of Communications and the Arts. The project aims to "identify and document critically-endangered languages — those languages for which little or no documentation exists, where no recordings have previously been made, but where there are living speakers".[6]


  1. ^ a b W19 Inggarda at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  2. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Maya.
  3. ^ "W43: Pulinya". Austlang. AIATSIS. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  4. ^ Dench, Alan C. (1998). Yingkarta. Munich: München: Lincom Europa.
  5. ^ "Irra Wangga Language Centre: Mid West languages: Yingkarta". Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Priority Languages Support Project". First Languages Australia. Retrieved 13 January 2020.