Australia: Pitjantjatjara Bible


Bible Society Australia is committed to helping Indigenous Australian’s Open The Bible in their heart languages. Bible Society is supporting the Pitjantjatjara (Anangu) people of Central Australia to translate the Old Testament into Pitjantjatjara. Amongst other things, BSA funds translation workshops and provides expertise through translation consultants. 

Since 1788, over 155 of the estimated 300 or more languages first spoken in Australia have disappeared, and the remaining 110 are critically endangered. In 2005 the National Indigenous Language Survey said, “all of Australia’s Indigenous languages face an uncertain future if immediate action and care are not taken.” It is widely acknowledged that the Bible is the most important source of usable connected discourses in endangered Australian languages. Translating the Bible into Indigenous languages has always been, and remains, critically important. They are the heart languages of many people. A heart language is the language a person thinks and dreams in.

Many Indigenous people speak some English, however much of what they read in English versions of the Bible can be confusing and complicated. Pitjantjatjara is one of the few original Australian languages that are still used daily. It’s learned by children as a normal part of growing up and is spoken by several thousand people who live in their traditional homelands in the northwest of South Australia, as well as parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Diaspora in Alice Springs, Port Augusta and Adelaide also speak Pitjantjatjara. With a full Bible in their language, Pitjantjatjara speakers will be better able to come face to face with God’s Living Word.


  • Over 155 of the estimated 300 or more languages first spoken in Australia have disappeared
  • Of the 145 languages left, 110 languages are critically endangered
  • Pitjantjatjara is the first language of about 3,000–5,000 Aboriginal Australians
  • Up to another 5000 people speaking it as their second or third language

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