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Anangu refer to the traditional Aboriginal owners of Uluru.[1] The term, which embraces several tribes, is more accurately spelled "Aṉangu" or "Arnangu" and pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: [ˈaɳaŋʊ].


The termEdit

The original meaning of the word was presumably "human being, person", "human body" and is taken from word found in a number of eastern varieties of the Pama–Nyungan Western Desert Languages (WDL). It is now used as an Aboriginal endonym used by the WDL peoples and rarely applied to non-Aboriginal people, and has come to be used also as an exonym used by non-Aboriginal Australians to refer to WDL speaking groups or individuals.

With regard to the term's distribution and spelling, the following table shows the main WDL dialects in which it is used (left column) along with the word spelled according to the orthography of that dialect (right column).

Pitjantjatjara, Pintupi-Luritja aṉangu
Southern (Titjikala) Luritja, Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaatjatjarra yarnangu
Yankunytjatjara yaṉangu

The reasons for the spelling variations are: some WDL dialects do not allow vowel-initial words—in these varieties the word begins with y; some orthographies use underlining (e.g. ṉ) to indicate a retroflex consonant, while others use a digraph (e.g. rn). Pitjantjatjara seems to be the best-known source for the word, but the underlining of the consonant is often ignored (or not understood) by English speakers, and is difficult to type, so the word is very commonly seen as anangu.


The Anangu consist of two groups, the Pitjantjatjara and the Yantkunjatjara.[2]


The Anangu dwell in the Central Western desert, to the south of the Arrernte and Walpiri.[2]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

Explanatory notesEdit



External linksEdit