Western Desert Special Speech Styles Project

Western Desert Special Speech Styles Project

Language: Ngaanyatjarra (ISO639-3:ntj), Ngaatjatjarra, Pitjantjatjara
Depositor: Inge Kral
Location: Australia
Deposit Id: 0342
Grant id: SG0187
Funding body:
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
In the Australian Western Desert Aboriginal people use a rich repertoire of special speech styles incorporating speech, song, sign language, gesture and drawing. These speech styles, used in secular and ceremonial contexts, are a highly valued yet endangered part of the traditions of desert people. This project takes a multidisciplinary approach to the documentation of verbal art forms from the Western Desert family of languages – specifically Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaatjatjarra and Pitjantjatjara – spoken by approximately 2000 people in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands region of south-east Western Australia. It will provide a significant record of these oral practices and provide rich data sets for analyses that will enhance our understandings of how multimodal communication systems work across Australian desert communities. It will also shed light on the relationship between traditional multimodal communication forms and multimodal computer mediated communication.


Collection online
Resources online and curated


Inge Kral
Affiliation: Australian National University

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2020 October 01 to 2020 October 01
Deposit hits:5
Downloaded files
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Showing 1 - 10 of 65 Items

Tjawina Porter with Lizzie Ellis singing the 'mamuritiriti' (ant lion) children's song plus actions

Recorded on: 2010-10-27

Lizzie Ellis talking about the importance of documenting traditions and traditional knowledge and stories for future generations to know their heritage. Also explanation of tjinytja – storywire who uses it and audience.

Recorded on: 2012-10-13

Lizzie Ellis talking about the varieties of respectful speech in Ngaanyatjarra including Yirrkapiri Wangka. Example sentences.

Recorded on: 2012-10-16

Joella Butler and Katrina Giles transfer kinship guessing game to iPad

Recorded on: 2013-09-06

Women at Patjarr sing the 'laka' traditional mourning song

Recorded on: 2013-09-09

Tjawina Porter telling a leaf story about families in the olden days.

Recorded on: 2010-10-21

Esther Giles telling a Leaf story with Lizzie Ellis as interlocutor. With leaf story, typical to co-narrate with someone asking questions.

Recorded on: 2010-10-21

Nancy Jackson talking about when they were told these stories. Ie when parents out hunting, afterwards they’d retell the story.

Recorded on: 2010-10-17

Nancy Jackson telling a 'leaf story' about families camping around a waterhole

Recorded on: 2010-10-17

Tjawina Porter singing children's songs and stories with Lizzie Ellis

Recorded on: 2012-10-31