Sign languages in Central Australia


In this film, April Pengart Campbell and Clarrie Kemarr Long use speech and sign to discuss some of the ways that Anmatyerr people use sign language. This film was made by Jenny Green and linked to a story on Indigenous Language projects written by Amanda Burdon for Australian Geographic magazine in 2014.


Select a location to see the signs.

Ti Tree



Welcome to Iltyem-iltyem

Iltyem-iltyem is an online resource for sign languages used in Indigenous communities in Central Australia. This site contains several hundred video clips of signs for public view. The project was piloted by members of the sign language team from Ti Tree in Central Australia.

This website is for people who want to teach and learn Central Australian sign languages. It will also help people learn spoken language, as most of the video clips contain sign language and speech together. 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’.


How to use this site

The iltyem-iltyem website is organized around short video clips. The clips are grouped into categories, which roughly follow the categories found in the IAD Picture Dictionary series. Read on for instructions about how to interpret the identifications that go with each clip, and how to browse and search.

more information about using this site…


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



Iltyem-iltyem: Sign language in Central Australia by Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.