Thangkerne | Kaytetye birds

A team of Kaytetye speakers, working with linguist Myfany Turpin, have developed an app for iphone and ipad about Thangkerne ‘birds’.

Link to the app here.

For more information about Kaytetye language research, contact:

For more information about the Thangkerne app, contact:

Kaytetye is a highly endangered Indigenous language spoken in the Barrow Creek region of the Northern Territory, Australia. This app was made for younger Kaytetye people so they can learn more about their language, culture and natural world.

The Thangkerne Kaytetye bird app was launched at Neutral Junction School (Artarre Community) on 25 August 2015.


The app contains recorded Kaytetye bird names, bird calls, pictures of birds from local photographers in Central Australia and Kaytetye language descriptions of cultural knowledge about birds.


The app concept was developed at a workshop in Alice Springs in April 2014 as part of the Getting in Touch project.

Lena Ngamperle, Hilda Ngamperle, Ala’ Diab (top), Rachel Dinnie, Amy Ngamperle, Myfany Turpin and Elsie Numina developing app content at the Getting in Touch workshop, Alice Springs April 2014.

Project credits

Kaytetye audio: Alison Ross

Kaytetye sentences: Alison Ross; apart from:

Janie Ampetyane: aherrk-akwewene Singing Honeyeater, tyelkather-athere Banded Lapwing

Peter (recorded 1959)†: ilekaynewene Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Mary Thompson†: karlatwerreye Red-capped Robin

Shirley Ampetyane: kwarlpatelkalyelkelye Striated Pardalote

Beryl Ross: ngimarre alarrewene Striated Honeyeater, twetime Black-breasted Buzzard

Fanny Ampetyane†: tyeng-aytey-ayteye Pallid Cuckoo

Concept and content: Hilda Ngamperle, Lena Ngamperle, Amy Ngamperle, Rachel Dinnie and Elise Numina (Getting in Touch App Workshop participants).

Photography: Richard Waring, Julian Robinson, Bob Gosford, Patrick Coin, Nic Gambold.

Birdcall audio: David Stewart (Nature Sounds)

Compilation and translation: Myfany Turpin

Ornithological advice: Bob Gosford

App development: Ben Foley, Margaret Carew

Project management: Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education – Northern Territory Language Support Program.

App development funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages Support Program

Research on Kaytetye birds was funded by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Grant 2006/7164) and Birdlife Australia (2013 Indigenous Grant for Bird Research and Conservation). Other Kaytetye consultants included Eileen Ampetyane, Harry Janima, Blanche Ross†, Tommy Thompson and Carol Thompson.

© Kaytetye people 2015.

Tara community

c/o Neutral Junction station

via Alice Springs NT, 0872.


For more information about Kaytetye language see:

Turpin, M. and A. Ross (2012). Kaytetye to English Dictionary. Alice Springs NT, IAD Press.