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Arrernte or Aranda (; ) or sometimes referred to as Upper Arrernte (Upper Aranda), is a
dialect cluster A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
in the Arandic language group spoken in parts of the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
, Australia, by the
Arrernte people Artist Albert Namatjira was a Western Arrernte man. The Arrernte () people, sometimes referred to as the Aranda, Arunta or Arrarnta, are a group of Aboriginal Australian peoples who live in the Arrernte lands, at ''Mparntwe'' (Alice Springs ...
. Other spelling variations are Arunta or Arrarnta, and all of the dialects have multiple other names. There are about 1,800 speakers of Eastern/Central Arrernte, making this dialect one of the widest spoken of any Indigenous language in Australia, the one usually referred to as Arrernte and the one described in detail below. It is spoken in the
Alice Springs Alice Springs ( aer, Mparntwe) is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the central a ...

Alice Springs
area and taught in schools and universities, heard on media and used in local government. The second biggest dialect in the group is Alyawarre. Some of the other dialects are spoken by very few people, leading to efforts to revive their usage; others are now completely
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
.


Arrernte/Aranda dialects

"Aranda" is a simplified,
Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto'' common language. English is the Lan ...
approximation of the traditional pronunciation of the name of ''Arrernte'' . ''
Glottolog ''Glottolog'' is a bibliographic database of the world's lesser-known languages, developed and maintained first at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany (between 2015 and 2020 at the Max Planck Institute for ...
'' defines the Arandic group of languages/dialects as comprising 5 Aranda (Arrernte) dialects, plus two distinct languages, Kaytetye (Koch, 2004) and Lower Southern (or just Lower) Aranda, an extinct language. ''
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicat ...
'' defines 8 Arandic languages and classifies them slightly differently. Two dialects are more widely spoken than any of the others: * Eastern Arrernte (also known as Central Arrernte) dialects include ''Akarre'', ''Antekerrepenh'', ''Ikngerripenhe'', ''Mparntwe Arrernte''. Spoken in the Alice Springs area and others, there were 1,910 speakers in the 2016 census, making it the most widely spoken Arrernte, and Australian Aboriginal, language. This is the dialect most often referred to as "Arrernte" and the strongest of all in the group. There is a project encouraging its use, ''Apmere angkentye-kenhe'', * Alyawarra dialect is spoken by the Alyawarra people, in the Sandover and
Tennant Creek Tennant Creek ( wrm, Jurnkkurakurr) is a town located in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia ...

Tennant Creek
areas as well as Queensland. In 2016 there were 1,550 speakers of the language, giving it a status of "Developing". It is similar to Western Arrernte. (Kaytetye is related to this dialect, but is classed as a separate language.) All of the other dialects are either threatened or extinct: * Andegerebinha (or Antekerrepenhe or Ayerrerenge) was spoken in the Hay River area (east of Alice Springs), but is now
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
. ** Ayerrerenge, (also known as Yuruwinga, Bularnu and other variations) was spoken by the Yuruwinga/Yaroinga people is the north-easternmost member of the Arrernte group of languages, and the least studied. It was spoken across the
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
border in the Headingly,
Urandangi Urandangi (formerly also spelled Urandangie) is an outback town in the Suburbs and localities (Australia), locality of Piturie, Queensland, Piturie in the Shire of Boulia, Queensland, Australia. Geography The town is located on the banks of the ...
, Lake Nash, Barkly Downs and
Mount Isa Mount Isa ( ) is a city in the Gulf Country region of Queensland, Australia. It came into existence because of the vast mineral deposits found in the area. Mount Isa Mines (MIM) is one of the most productive single mines in world history, based ...
areas, and near Mount Hogarth, Bathurst, and Argadargada in the NT. It is now extinct. Breen (2001) says that the language was regarded as the same or similar to Andegerebinha/Antekerrepenhe by some speakers, and Glottolog regards it as a dialect of it. * Anmatyerre, divided into Eastern and Western, is spoken by the
Anmatyerre The Anmatyerre (or Anmatjera , also Anmatyerr, Anmatjirra, or Amatjere) are an Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, a ...
(or Anmatjirra) people. The Eastern form seems more closely related to Eastern Arrernte and Southern Alywarre than Western Anmatyerre, which is noticeably different phonetically from other Arandic languages. it is spoken in the Mount Allan and northwest Alice Springs regions. With only 640 speakers in the 2016 census, it is regarded as threatened. * Western Arrarnta (Western Arrernte, Western Aranda, Akara, Southern Aranda, possible sub-dialect ''Akerre''), spoken west of Alice Springs, is nearly extinct, being only spoken by 440 people in 2016. Other terms are ''Tyuretye Arrernte'' and ''Arrernte Alturlerenj''. Breen distinguishes Tyurretye Arrernte (which he initially called Mbunghara) from Western Arrernte, saying that two speakers first recorded, from the Standley Chasm and Mbunghara, was not known until the mid-1980s, and that it may have been the "real" Western Arrernte, before the latter was mixed with Southern Arrernte ( Pertame) at the
Hermannsburg Mission ---- The Hermannsburg Mission (german: Hermannsburger Mission) was founded as the Hermannsburg Mission Centre (''Missionsanstalt Hermannsburg'') in 1849 in Hermannsburg, near Celle, North Germany, by Louis Harms. In 1977, the independent mission so ...
. Anna Kenny has noted that the people of the Upper Finke River prefer their language to be known as Western Aranda. This dialect has similarities with Alyawarre and Kaytetye.


Sign language

The Arrernte also have a highly developed
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fled ...
, also known as Iltyeme-iltyeme.


Current usage and tuition

The Northern Territory Department of Education has a program for teaching Indigenous culture and languages, underpinned by a plan entitled ''Keeping Indigenous Languages and Cultures Strong – A Plan for Teaching and Learning of Indigenous Languages and Cultures in the Northern Territory'' with the second stage of the plan running from 2018 to 2020). The Alice Springs Language Centre delivers language teaching at primary, middle and senior schools, offering Arrernte,
Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the archipelago ** Indonesian ...

Indonesian
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
. There are two courses teaching Arrernte at tertiary level: at the Batchelor Institute and at
Charles Darwin University Charles Darwin University (CDU) is an Australian public university with a main campus in Darwin, Northern Territory, Darwin and eight satellite campuses in some metropolitan and regional areas. It was established in 2003 after the merger of Nor ...
. There are books available in Arandic languages in the
Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages (LAAL) is a digital archive of literature in endangered language An endangered language or moribund language is a language that is at risk of disappearing as its speakers Language death, die out or l ...
. Projects are being run to revive dying dialects of the language, such as Southern Arrernte/Pertame.


Eastern/Central Arrernte


Phonology

This description relates to Central or Eastern Arrernte.


Consonants

is described as velar () by , and as uvular () by . Stops are unaspirated. Prenasalized stops are voiced throughout; prestopped nasals are voiceless during the stop. These sounds arose as normal consonant clusters; Ladefoged states that they now occur initially, where consonant clusters are otherwise forbidden, due to historical loss of initial vowels; however, it has also been argued that such words start with a phonemic schwa, which may not be pronounced (see below).


Vowels

All dialects have at least . The vowel system of Eastern/Central Arrernte is unusual in that there are only two contrastive vowel phonemes, and . Two-vowel systems are very rare worldwide, but are also found in some
Northwest Caucasian languages The Northwest Caucasian languages, also called West Caucasian, Abkhazo-Adyghean, Abkhazo-Circassian, Circassic, or sometimes ''Pontic languages'' (in contrast to ''Caspian languages'' for the ), are a spoken in the northwestern region,Hoiberg, ...

Northwest Caucasian languages
. It seems that the vowel system derives from an earlier one with more phonemes, but after the development of labialised consonants in the vicinity of round vowels, the vowels lost their roundedness/backness distinction, merging into just two phonemes. There is no
allophonic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
variation in different consonantal contexts for the vowels. Instead, the phonemes can be realised by various different articulations in
free variation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
. For example, the phoneme can be pronounced in any context.Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996)


Phonotactics

The underlying syllable structure of Eastern/Central Arrernte is argued to be VC(C), with obligatory codas and no onsets. Underlying phrase-initial is realised as zero, except before a rounded consonant where, by a rounding process of general applicability, it is realised as . It is also common for phrases to carry a final corresponding to no underlying segment. Among the evidence for this analysis is that some suffixes have
suppletiveIn linguistics and etymology, suppletion is traditionally understood as the use of one word as the inflection, inflected form of another word when the two words are not cognate. For those learning a language, suppletive forms will be seen as "irregul ...
variants for monosyllabic and bisyllabic bases. Stems that appear monosyllabic and begin with a consonant in fact select the bisyllabic variant. Stress falls on the first
nucleus ''Nucleus'' (plural nuclei) is a Latin word for the seed inside a fruit. It most often refers to: *Atomic nucleus, the very dense central region of an atom *Cell nucleus, a central organelle of a eukaryotic cell, containing most of the cell's DNA ...
preceded by a consonant, which by this analysis can be stated more uniformly as the second underlying syllable. And the
frequentative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
is formed by the final VC syllable of the verb stem; it does not include the final .


Orthography

Central/Eastern Arrernte orthography does not write word-initial , and adds an ''e'' to the end of every word.


Grammar

Eastern and Central Arrernte has fairly
free word order In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ph ...
but tends towards SOV. It is generally ergative, but is
accusative The accusative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of (some or all) prepositions. It is ...
in its pronouns. Pronouns may be marked for duality and skin group.


Pronouns

Pronouns decline with a nominative rather than ergative alignment: Body parts normally require non-possessive pronouns (
inalienable possession In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
), though younger speakers may use possessives in this case too (e.g. ''akaperte ayenge'' or ''akaperte atyinhe'' 'my head').


Examples


Cultural references

*
Peter Sculthorpe Peter Joshua Sculthorpe (29 April 1929 – 8 August 2014) was an Australian composer. Much of his music resulted from an interest in the music of Australia's neighbours as well as from the impulse to bring together aspects of native Australian mu ...
's music theatre work ''
Rites of Passage A rite of passage is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions o ...
'' (1972–73) is written partly in Arrernte and partly in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
. *Western and Southern Arrernte were used in parts of the libretto for Andrew Schultz' and Gordon Williams' ''Journey to Horseshoe Bend'', based on the novel by
Ted Strehlow Theodor George Henry Strehlow (6 June 1908 – 3 October 1978), known as Ted Strehlow, was an anthropology, anthropologist who studied the Arrernte people, Arrernte (Aranda, Arunta) Aboriginal Australians and Arrernte language, their language in ...
.


Notes


References


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading


Arrernte: Data collected on the Arrernte language
(Sorosoro program for linguistic diversity, 2015)

(Omniglot.com)

- with map. (Aboriginal Art and Culture, Alice Springs)
Gavan Breen Eastern Arrernte collection - written materials
( PARADISEC open-access collection) * *
Keeping The Aboriginal Language Strong
(The Spoken Word)
Publishedrare items
an
special materials
on Arrernte language and people: bibliographies of items held in the
AIATSIS The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), established as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS) in 1964, is an independent Australian Government The Australian Government, also kno ...
library * {{Pama–Nyungan languages, Central Arandic languages Alice Springs Arrernte Indigenous Australian languages in the Northern Territory Endangered indigenous Australian languages in the Northern Territory Vertical vowel systems