Sign languages in Central Australia

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’.

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…

Molly Napurrurla Presley signing ‘speak using handsigns’.

Select a location to see the signs.

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.

Ti Tree


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.