We mainly speak Pitjantjatjara (pronounced as pigeon-jarrah) and Yankunytjatjara (pronounced as young-kun-jarrah) - but some of us speak up to six different Aboriginal languages.
- Pitjantjatjara literally means the people who use 'pitjantja' when they say 'coming'.
- Yankunytjatjara are the people who use 'yankunytja' to say 'going'.
- Anangu means 'people' in both Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara.
To start learning our language, click on the links below:
Western Desert languages
Both Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara are part of the Western Desert Language group that includes about 4,000 speakers, stretching northwest to Balgo, west to Port Headland, south to Kalgoorlie, Yalata and northeast to Alice Springs.
Our languages are very different from English. We have 17 consonants, some of which non-Pitjantjatjara speakers find difficult. There are three vowels, a, i and u, each of which may sound long or short. Sounds such as s, z, v, sh or th do not exist. We also adapt some English words such as 'mutuka' for 'motor car'.
Want to learn more?
Anangu and non-Anangu linguists have produced a Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara to English Dictionary. It is available from Yulara Newsagency, some online bookshops and in several bookshops in Alice Springs.