Western Tasmanian languages

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Western Tasmanian
Ethnicity: Northwestern and Southwestern tribes of Tasmanians
Western coast and northwestern corner of Tasmania
Linguistic classification: Northern–Western Tasmanian?
  • Western Tasmanian
Glottolog: west2205[1]
Tasmanian language families per Bowern (2012).
  Western Tasmanian

Western Tasmanian is an aboriginal language family of Tasmania in the reconstruction of Claire Bowern.[2]


The Western Tasmanian languages are the most poorly attested of all Tasmanian families. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis suggests (at either p < 0.15 or p < 0.20) that Northwestern Tasmanian and Southwestern Tasmanian were distinct languages; several word lists of unrecorded provenance turn out to be Western Tasmanian or to have Western words mixed in. Bayesian analysis does not support a connection to other Tasmanian languages. However, manual comparison suggests they are related to the Northern Tasmanian languages, which are less poorly attested, though the similarities may be due to loans.[3]

Except along the coast (and even then perhaps only along the northern coast),[4] the Western Tasmanian languages were separated by other languages by a large uninhabited region in the interior.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Western Tasmanian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Claire Bowern, September 2012, "The riddle of Tasmanian languages", Proc. R. Soc. B, 279, 4590–4595, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1842
  3. ^ Bowern (2012), supplement
  4. ^ AIATSIS: Aboriginal Australia Wallmap