Guniyandi language

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Region Western Australia
Native speakers
60 (2005) to 420 (2006 census)[1]
  • Gooniyandi
Language codes
ISO 639-3 gni
Glottolog goon1238[2]

Gooniyandi is an Australian Aboriginal language now spoken by about 100 people, most of whom live in or near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia. Gooniyandi is an endangered language as it is not being passed on to children, who instead grow up speaking Kriol. It is the latest recorded language in the world.


Gooniyandi is closely related to Bunuba, to about the same degree as English is related to Dutch. The two are the only members of the Bunuban language family. Unlike the majority of Australian Aboriginal languages, Gooniyandi and Bunuba are non-Pama–Nyungan.

Writing system[edit]

A Gooniyandi alphabet based on the Latin script was adopted by the community in 1984, and subsequently revised in 1990 and again in 1999. It is not phonemic, as it omits some distinctions made in speech.


Gooniyandi has no genders, but a large number of cases; it uses an ergative-absolutive case system. It is a verb-final language, but without a dominant order between the subject and the object.


  1. ^ a b Gooniyandi at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Gooniyandi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


  • McGregor, William (1990). A Functional Grammar of Gooniyandi. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 
  • McGregor, William (1994). "Gooniyandi". In Nick Thieberger & William McGregor. Macquarie Aboriginal Words. The Macquarie Library. pp. 193–213. 
  • McGregor, William (2004). The Languages of the Kimberley, Western Australia. London, New York: Taylor & Francis. 
  • M Haspelmath; M S Dryer; D Gil; B Comrie (2005). The World Atlas of Language Structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

External links[edit]