Garlali language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RegionQueensland and New South Wales
Extinct(date missing)
  • Waŋkumara Galali
    (Wilson River Galali)
  • Bulloo River Galali
Language codes
ISO 639-3gll

Garlali (Galali, Gaḷali, Kalali) or Kullili (Kullilla) is a pair of related Australian Aboriginal languages.

The Kalali lived around the area from Thargomindah in South West Queensland, southward to the Currawinya Lakes, and west to Bulloo Lakes and north to Norley Station.

The name covers two varieties. Waŋkumara Galali (Wilson River Galali) is very close to the Karnic languages Waŋkumara and Bundamara, while the Bulloo River Galali studied by Gavan Breen (from a speaker named Charlie Phillips) is one of the transitional 'Karna–Mari fringe' languages. The former may have originated in the latter, but been subject language shift.[2]

The descendents of the Kalali speakers mostly live in Brisbane, Cherbourg (the old Aboriginal Mission), and small New South Wales and Queensland towns such as Bourke, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, and Charleville.

Galali is one of the dialects of what linguist Gavan Breen has called the ‘Wilson River Language’. Galali has also been referred to as the ‘Bulloo River Language’, and strong similarities occur with ‘Wankumara’, ‘Thiraila’, ‘Mambangura’, and ‘Bunthamara’.

Breen pointed out that some groups in southwest Queensland had abandoned their original languages (but not their names) and adopted the ‘Wilson River Language’ in the early days of Australian settlement when people moved from Thargomindah to Nockatunga (near the modern town of Noccundra).

The informant Charlie Phillips aged 74 years, born at Backwood Station south of Hungerford in southwest Queensland, spoke the language fluently and confidently despite having not used the language conversationally for 40 years.

General characteristics[edit]

Wankamara (Galali) is entirely suffixing and morphologically fairly simple having the following word classes: nominal (noun and pronoun), verb, particle, and interjection. The word order is random and free. The phonemes consist of three vowels and 26 consonants.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kalali". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b Garlali at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

External links[edit]