• Patrick Muchana demonstrates the sign for wurrparn 'emu'.

  • Cindy Jinmarabynana demonstrates Maningrida Sign Language in this video.

  • The Iltyem-iltyem team presented at the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research in January 2016.

  • Artist Charlotte Hayward has incorporated Iltyem-iltyem into her recent show Green Influx (A-M Gallery, Newtown, 15 July - 1 August 2015).

  • Women at Balgo are recording their hand talk. This film appears on ABC Open's Mother Tongue project. Filmmaker: Willie Lempert.

  • Eileen Pwerrerl Campbell uses angkety 'speech', tyepety 'sand drawing' and iltyem-iltyem 'sign language' to tell a story. Filmed by Jenny Green.

  • Clarrie Kemarr and Eileen Pwerrerl discuss birds in iltyem-iltyem, during a recording session in May 2015 at Ti Tree.

  • Bridging the digital gap - an academic article about the Iltyemiltyem Sign Language project.

  • This is a screenshot of SIL's new sign language app, called SooSL. Click through for a link to more information about new Sign language apps in development.

  • April Pengart Campbell, being interviewed by ABC Open during the WANALA Conference in Broome, September 2014

  • The Ti Tree sign language team

  • We used Adam Kendon's list of Warlpiri signs to record signs at Willowra.

This website is for people who are interested in Australian Indigenous sign languages – in particular the sign languages used in Central Australia. The word iltyem-iltyem is used in Anmatyerr to mean ‘signalling with hands, using handsigns’. It comes from the word iltya, ‘hand, finger’. Because this sign language project began with Anmatyerr people from the community of Ti Tree, we have named the website,  iltyem-iltyem. This word is equivalent to iltyeme-iltyeme  in Eastern/Central Arrernte and rdaka-rdaka in Warlpiri. In Kaytetye eltye eltyarrenke means ‘use hand signs’.

In August 2017 our project started working with a team in Maningrida, recording sign languages used in the north-central Arnhem Land region. In Maningrida people often refer to their sign system as ‘actions’.


Maningrida Action project

Maningrida Action project

Sep 18, 2017

A multilingual team at Maningrida participated in a two week sign language workshop at Maningrida in August, 2017. Linguists Margaret Carew (CALL), Jenny Green …

Rdaka-rdaka Marlu-witalpa-nyinaja

Rdaka-rdaka Marlu-witalpa-nyinaja

Feb 3, 2017

Rdaka-rdaka Marlu-witalpa-nyinaja ‘Hand signs: the little kangaroo’

Coral Napangardi Gallagher signs a story about a …

Jun 20, 2016

Cindy Jinmarabynana demonstrates Maningrida Sign Language in this film. This was made in May 2016, at a sign language workshop during the WANALA …

Iltyem-iltyem goes to TISLR

Iltyem-iltyem goes to TISLR

Jan 8, 2016

The Iltyem-iltyem team recently attended a Sign Languages Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (4-7 January …

Iltyem-iltyem: NT Language Support Program – Central Australia by Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that the content on this website may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.