Aboriginal languages in NT

More than 100 Aboriginal languages and dialects are spoken in the Northern Territory (NT).

Aboriginal languages of the NT vary greatly in their grammatical structures, concepts and vocabulary.

Map of major Aboriginal languages of the NT (393.5 kb)

Map of major Aboriginal languages of the NT (279.5 kb)

Most widely spoken Aboriginal languages in NT

Language Region
East Side/West Side KriolKatherine
Yolngu MathaTop End
WarlpiriKatherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs
Pitjantjatjara*Alice Springs
Murrinh PathaTop End
AnindilyakwaTop End
Eastern/Central Arrernte, Western Arrarnta+Alice Springs
KunwinjkuTop End
BurarraTop End
Modern TiwiTop End
Luritja/Pintupi*Alice Springs
GurindjiKatherine
MaungTop End
Alyawarr/Anmatyerr+Alice Springs, Tennant Creek
WarumunguTennant Creek
* Western Desert family
+Arandic family
 

Languages by community

Region Language
Tiwi Islands  
MilikapitiTiwi (Modern and Traditional)
Pirlangimpi (Garden Point)Tiwi (Modern and Traditional)
Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu)Tiwi (Modern and Traditional)
West Arnhem region  
Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)Kunwinjku
ManingridaBurarra, Ndjebbana, Kunwinjku, Yolngu Matha
Minjilang (Croker Island)Iwaidja
WarruwiMaung
East Arnhem region  
Angurugu (Groote Eylandt)Anindilyakwa
Lake EvellaYolngu Matha (Djambarrpuyngu, Galpu, Golumala, Rirratjingu)
GapuwiyakYolngu Matha (Djambarrpuyngu)
Gunyangara (Ski Beach)Yolngu Matha (Gumatj, Dhuwaya, Galpu, Rirratjingu)
MilingimbiYolngu Matha (Djambarrpuyngu, Gupapuyngu)
Milyakburra (Bickerton Island)Anindilyakwa
RaminginingYolngu Matha (Gupapuyngu, Djambarrpuyngu, Djinang)
Umbakumba (Groote Eylandt)Anindilyakwa
YirrkalaYolngu Matha (Gumatj, Dhuwaya, Galpu, Rirratjingu, Djapu, Djambarrpuyngu)
Victoria Daly region  
Kalkaringi/DaguraguGurindji, Westside Kriol
Nauiyu (Daly River)Ngan’gikurrunggurr, Kriol
Nganmarriyanga (Palumpa)Ngan’gikurrunggurr, Kriol, Murrinh Patha
PeppimenartiMurrinh Patha, Ngan’gikurrunggurr, Kriol
Pine CreekKriol, Mayali
Timber CreekWestside Kriol
YarralinNgarinyman, Westside Kriol
WadeyeMurrinh Patha
Roper Gulf region  
BarungaEastside Kriol
BorroloolaYanyuwa, Garrwa, Eastside Kriol
BulmanEastside Kriol
Jilkminggan/MatarankaEastside Kriol
ManyallalukEastside Kriol
MinyerriEastside Kriol
NgukurrEastside Kriol
NumbulwarEastside Kriol, Nunggubuyu
Wugularr (Beswick)Eastside Kriol
Barkly region  
Ali CurungWarlpiri, Wumpurrarni English*
AlpurrurulamAlyawarr
AmpilatwatjaAlyawarr
Arlparra (Utopia)Alyawarr, Anmatyerr
ElliottKriol
Tennant CreekWarumungu, Wumpurrarni English*, Warlpiri, Alyawarr
WutunugurraAlyawarr
Central Desert region  
LajamanuWarlpiri
LarambaAnmatyerr
NyirrpiWarlpiri
Pmara Jutunta (Ti Tree)Anmatyerr, Warlpiri
WillowraWarlpiri
YuelamuAnmatyerr, Warlpiri
YuendumuWarlpiri
MacDonnell region  
AmoongunaEastern/Central Arrernte, Western Arrarnta
Apatula (Finke)Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Luritja/Pintupi
Hermannsburg (Ntaria)Western Arrarnta
Kaltukatjara (Docker River)Pitjantjatjara, Ngaatjatjarra
Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa)Eastern/Central Arrernte, Western Arrarnta
Utju (Areyonga)Pitjantjatjara, Luritja/Pintupi, Western Arrarnta
Walangurru (Kintore)Luritja/Pintupi
Watiyawanu (Mt. Liebig)Luritja/Pintupi
Warumpi (Papunya)Luritja/Pintupi

This information is not intended to be exhaustive of all languages and dialects spoken in the Territory. The NT is one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the world.

For comprehensive information about Aboriginal languages of the NT go to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website.

Last updated: 19 July 2018