Ngarrindjeri language

Ngarrindjeri (also Yaraldi, Yaralde Tingar) or Narrinyeri (also written Ngarinyeri) was the language of the Ngarrindjeri and related peoples of southern South Australia.

RegionSouth Australia
EthnicityNgarrindjeri, Tanganekald, Ramindjeri, Yarilde, Meintangk, Portaulun, Warki
Native speakers
312 (2016 census)[1]
  • Yaralde (Ngarrindjeri)
  • Tangane (Tanganekald)
  • Ramindjeri
  • Portaulun
  • Warki
Jaralde Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3nay

Ngarrindjerri is Pama–Nyungan. Bowern (2011) lists the Yaraldi, Ngarrindjeri, and Ramindjeri varieties as separate languages.[4]

The last fluent speaker died in the 1960s, but recent attempts to revive the language include the release of a Ngarrindjeri dictionary in 2009.[5]

In 1864, the publication of the Narrinyeri Bible was the first time portions of the Bible were translated into an Aboriginal language.[6] 8 Genesis 2:8 follows in Ngarrindjerri from the 1864 translation and a literal English translation. "Jehovah winmin gardenowe Edenald, kile yuppun ityan korn gardenungai." "Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed."


Other variants of the names are Jarildekald, Jaralde, Yarilde, Yarrildie, Jaraldi, Lakalinyeri, Warawalde, Yalawarre, Yarildewallin.

Berndt, Berndt & Stanton published 1993, "The appropriate traditional categorization of the whole group was Kukabrak: this term, as we mention again below, was used by these people to differentiate themselves from neighbours whom they regarded as being socio-culturally and linguistically dissimilar. However, the term Narrinyeri has been used consistently in the literature and by Aborigines today who recognize a common descent from original inhabitants of this region-- even though their traditional identifying labels have been lost."[7]


The Yaralde had the southernmost attested Australian Aboriginal sign language.[8]


  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Narrinyeri". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ S69 Ngarrindjeri at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ Bowern, Claire. 2011. "How Many Languages Were Spoken in Australia?", Anggarrgoon: Australian languages on the web, December 23, 2011 (corrected February 6, 2012)
  5. ^ University of South Australia, "Preserving Indigenous culture through language", 16 May 2008,[1] Accessed 15 January 2010.
  6. ^ Gale (1997), p. 71.
  7. ^ "A world that was: the Yaraldi of the Murray River and the lakes, South Australia" By Ronald Murray Berndt, Catherine Helen Berndt, John E. Stanton Chapter "1 The land and the people p19
  8. ^ Kendon, A. (1988) Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Berndt, Ronald M. & Catherine H. (1993). A World That Was: The Yaraldi of the Murray River and the Lakes, South Australia. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-0478-5.
  • Berndt, R.M. (1940). "Notes on the sign-language of the Jaralde tribe of the Lower River Murray, South Australia", (pp. 397–402; reprinted (1978) in Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, vol. 2)
  • Cerin, M. (1994). The pronominal system of Yaraldi. BA honours sub-thesis. University of Melbourne.
  • Gale, Mary-Anne (1997). Dhanum Djorra'wuy Dhawu. Underdale: Aboriginal Research Institute.
  • Meyer, H. A. E. (1843). Vocabulary of the language spoken by the Aborigines of the southern and eastern portion of the settled districts of South Australia. Adelaide: James Allen.
  • Taplin, George (1879). The Folklore, Manners, Customs, and Languages of the South Australian Aborigines. Adelaide: Government Printer.
  • Taplin, George (1892). "Grammar of the language spoken by the Narrinyeri tribe in S. Australia". In Fraser, John (ed.). An Australian Language. Sydney: Government Printer. pp. 28–43 of appendix.