Vocabulary of West-Central Australian Languages, 1931-35

Archive Collections / Dr Norman Barnett Tindale / Series AA338/08 / Vocabulary of West-Central Australian Languages, 1931-35
Full title: 'Vocabulary of West-Central Australian Languages: Pitjandjara, Pintubi, Ngalia, Kukatja by Norman B. Tindale, Adelaide, 1931-35'.

This item contains two typescript copies of a general vocabulary (117 pp. per copy).The first copy has a handwritten cover note: 'incomplete & uncorrected. Check & add ŋa:dadjara words'.

The majority of words in this vocabulary were recorded by Tindale during the University of Adelaide’s Board for Anthropological Research’s (BAR) expeditions in the early 1930s. These include expeditions to: Mt Liebig (NT, 1932) and the Mann and Musgrave Ranges (SA, 1933). Data was also gathered during a visit made by Tindale to Ooldea (SA) in 1934, which was not part of an official BAR anthropological 'expedition'. The handwritten cover note by Tindale relates to words collected during the BAR's Warburton Ranges expedition (WA, 1935). The vocabulary also contains words from R Helms's Everard Range and Blyth Range vocabularies (SA, in 'Anthropology', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australiavol.16, 1896, pp. 237-332), as well as words from Anthony Gladstone Bolam (see AA 640), stationmaster at the Ooldea railway siding in the 1920s (source not located).

A version of this vocabulary was apparently typed and taken to the Warburton Ranges in 1935 (see AA 338/8/4). Note that, with the addition of the Warburton Range entries and some additional literature source material, this vocabulary contributed significantly to Tindale's 'Vocabulary of Pitjandjara' 1931-37 (see AA 338/8/5).

The entries are arranged alphabetically according to an Aboriginal word, and also include an English gloss and an abbreviated language label: either P., Pin., Nga. Kuk. (Pitjandjara, Pintubi, Ngalia, Kukatja). There are, however, entries marked 'Jan' [Jangkundjara, one entry] and 'Ngad' [ŋa:dadjara, one entry]: these languages do not appear in the title of the vocabulary. There is a degree of ambiguity surrounding Tindale's listing of dialect entries, which are usually indicated by a cardinal direction terms, such as 'W.dial.' or 'E.dial'. Note that the western dialect entries often appear to relate to Pitjandjara, while the eastern dialect entries often appear to relate to Jangkundjara.

Finally, the approximate distribution of the 1672 or so words to language is:

  • Pitjandjara - 1275;

  • Pintubi - 210;

  • Kukatja- 153;

  • Ngalia - 32;

  • Jangkundjara - 1; and

  • ŋa:dadjara -1.

See also Tindale's Pitjandjara index card files, AA 338/7/2/3 - 338/7/2/6.

Tindale Tribes: Pitjandjara; Pintubi; Kukatja (NT); Ngalia; Jangkundjara; Ngadadjara.

CreatorDr Norman Barnett Tindale
ControlAA 338/8/3
Date Range1931  -  1935
Quantity 6cm,   1   foolscap folder
Series AA338/08