Some facts on the Australian dialects 


Australia is home to the world’s largest native language group. Indigenous Australians speak over 700 languages and dialects, with an estimated 4,000 different words for plants and animals in their languages alone. In this article we’ll look at some of these dialects and how they differ from each other: 


Arrernte is a Pama-Nyungan language spoken in Central Australia. It’s the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Central Australia, with over 60,000 speakers. 

For example: When you are asked where you’re from, you might say “I’m from Arrernte country” or sometimes even just “I’m from here.” 


Arandic is a dialect of the language of the Arrernte people of Central Australia. It is spoken by about 2,000 people in the Northern Territory and South Australia. 

Arandic has been classified as a separate language by UNESCO because it has no written form, but rather uses signs made up of hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate with one another. This makes it one of the most endangered Indigenous languages in Australia today—only around 80 fluent speakers remain! 


Alyawarre is a dialect of Arrernte, spoken by about 2,000 people in the Northern Territory. It has several unique features that make it easy to recognize—for example, most Alyawarr words end with -la or -bi (meaning “and”). The word for “I” is also spelt ila in this language and means “I am.” 

Alyawarr is one of four major indigenous languages spoken by Aboriginal Australians in Australia today. The others include Warlpiri, Western Desert Yolŋu Matha (Yolngu Matha), and Meriam Mirning 


Adnyamathanha is an endangered language and is spoken by the Adnyamathanha people, who live in South Australia. It belongs to the Pama-Nyungan family and is a member of the large group of languages known as Pama–Nyungan languages. 

There are two dialects: Goolma (also known as Marla) spoken along the Murray River;[3] Wanjingga (also known as Wankada) spoken inland from Moonta on Eyre Peninsula.[4] 


The Dhangu language is spoken by a small number of people in the Northern Territory, Australia. It is endangered and not written, but it can be used in everyday life. 

  • [Dhangu] is spoken by only about 150 people who live on an island off the coast of Arnhem Land (Northern Territory). 
  • The majority of these speakers live on Herberton Island where they have lived for more than 800 years and still speak their native language today. 


Dalabon is spoken by the Dalabon people in the Northern Territory. The language belongs to the Pama-Nyungan family, which includes languages such as Arrernte and Warlpiri. 

Dalabon is spoken by about 300 people living on a number of islands around Lake Mackay, as well as communities in Darwin and Adelaide. 


  • The Djambarrpuyngu language is spoken by less than 100 people in the Daly River region of Australia. 
  • It’s a sign language, but also a signed language. 
  • The sign for “no” looks like this: Hands up and shake them outwards (not at each other). This symbolizes saying no to someone else’s suggestion or idea. 


The Garawa language is a dialect of the Western Desert Language, which is spoken by the Warlpiri people in northern Australia. The language has been classified as endangered and has only around 100 speakers. 

Garawa is related to Warlpiri, which means “people who live down south”. 


In Australia, there are many Indigenous languages that have been spoken by various groups of people. Gudanji is one such language, and it is spoken by the Gudanji people of northern Queensland. It’s a member of the Pama-Nyungan family of languages, which includes Kuku Yalanji, Luritja and Warlpiri. 

The name “Gudanji” means “people who speak good English”. The speakers themselves refer to their language as “English” or “Aboriginal English” (BE). 


Yinhawangka is a dialect spoken in the Northern Territory. It’s a Pama-Nyungan language, and it has been classified as endangered. 

Yinhawangka has four vowels: /a/ (like English “a”), /i/ (like English “ee”), /u/ (like English “oo”) and /e/. There are no diphthongs in Yinhawangka; all syllables end with a vowel or consonant. For example, words like kurungu mean ‘crocodile’. If you want to say ‘crocodile’, you would say kurungguu! 

There are ten Indigenous dialects still spoken in Australia. 

There are ten Indigenous dialects still spoken in Australia. They are all related to each other, and they are all part of the Australian language family. The Australian Aboriginal languages have been spoken for tens of thousands of years, but their existence is now threatened by many factors, including English-language education and loss of traditional ways of life. 


These Australian dialects are older than the country itself and have survived over many generations. You can still hear them spoken today by people who remember them from their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ time. Some of these languages are spoken only by older speakers, while others have been passed down through families or even tribes as a form of cultural preservation. If you want to learn more about Aboriginal language, check out our article on Aboriginal languages in Australia here! 

We are thankful for the awareness of the precious and rare languages especially in our health systems which ensure the provision of professional interpreters. 

We at IMS Interpreter Management System are honoured to provide a system for scheduling and managing the interpreters in health care.  

For more information vist


Share this story
IMS Interpreter scheduling software smile

Join the conversation.

Enter your email below to stay informed.