Central Australia is a very linguistically rich area. The 2011 census indicated that 65% of Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander Territorians speak their First Languages at home. For many of these people English is a 3rd or 4th language.

The traditional language of Mparntwe (the land on which Alice Springs and the Desert Park is built) is Central Arrernte, but today many other Aboriginal languages are spoken by people living in and visiting this area.

There are three groups of languages in Central Australia: Arandic, Western Desert & Ngarrkic.
The Arandic group includes:
  • Central Arrernte
  • Eastern Arrernte
  • Western Arrarnta
  • Pertame (Southern Arrernte)
  • Anmatyerr
  • Alyawarr
  • Akarre
  • Kaytetye

The Western Desert group includes:
  • Pitjantjatjara
  • Yankunytjatjara
  • Ngaatjatjarra
  • Ngaanyatjarra
  • Luritja
  • Pintupi Luritja
  • Pintupi
  • Kukatja

The Ngarrkic group includes:
  • Warlpiri
  • Warlmanpa

You can learn the Arrernte names of some commonly seen desert plants and animals here:

Aboriginal Languages of the Northern Territory by community