Guniyandi language

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RegionWestern Australia
Native speakers
134 (2016 census)[1]
  • Gooniyandi
Language codes
ISO 639-3gni

Gooniyandi is an Australian Aboriginal language now spoken by about 100 people, most of whom live in or near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia.[4] Gooniyandi is an endangered language as it is not being passed on to children,[4] who instead grow up speaking Kriol.


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.[4] It is not phonemic, as it omits some distinctions made in speech.[4]


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. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gooniyandi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ K6 Gooniyandi at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ a b c d "Gooniyandi language, alphabet and pronunciation". Omniglot. Retrieved 22 July 2018.


  • McGregor, William (1990). A Functional Grammar of Gooniyandi. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • McGregor, William (1994). "Gooniyandi". In Nick Thieberger & William McGregor (ed.). 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]