Uluru Language

Anangu Languages

Anangu is the term that Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal people from the Western Desert region of Australia use to refer to themselves.

In the past the word Anangu had a more specific usage, being used to refer to a person or people as opposed to other non-human forms of life. Over the years, since contact with Europeans, it has come into common use in the region as a term referring to Aboriginal people, as opposed to non-Aboriginal people.

Many Anangu speak Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara. Ngaanyatjarra and Luritja are also spoken in this region. These are all dialects of what linguists term the Western Desert Language, Aboriginal Australia's largest language group. Western Desert dialects are sometimes grouped together and conveniently, though inaccurately, labelled Pitjantjatjara. Anangu who speak Western Desert dialects can be found from Halls Creek and Balgo in the north of Western Australia through to Oodnadatta and Yalata in South Australia.

Pitjantjatjara word definitions

Generally Pitjantjatjara words are used throughout the Park, however significant numbers of people in the Mutitjulu community speak Yankunytjatjara. Here are some words you might encounter:


Yankunytjatjara Pitjantjatjara English
tjakipiri kalaya emu
kuniya kuniya python
kurkapi kurkara desert oak
wami liru poisonous snake
kalamita langka lungkata blue tongue lizard
ruulpa luunpa kingfisher
mala mala rufous hare wallaby
malu malu red kangaroo
ngura ngura home
piyanpa piranpa white person, non-Aboriginal
waparitja tjukuritja ancestral beings of the creation period
wapar tjukurpa Law, referring to the creation period
kanku wiltja house, shelter
kurku wanari mulga tree

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