Maung language

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Native toAustralia
RegionGoulburn Island, Arnhem Land
EthnicityMaung people
Native speakers
371 (2016 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mph

Maung (Mawung, Mawng, Gun-marung) is an Australian aboriginal language spoken by the Maung people on the Goulburn Islands, off the north coast of Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Maung is closely related to Iwaidja language which occupies the northwestern corner of the opposite mainland. This is a language that belongs to the Iwaidjan language family of Non-Pama–Nyungan languages.[3] As of 2016, there were 370 speakers of the language.[4]

Study of Maung has developed to the point where a dictionary, grammar and portions of the Bible are available.[4] Maung is taught in local schools alongside English and other languages such as Iwaidja or Kunwinjku. Children are still acquiring it as a first language,[4] making it somewhat healthier than most other aboriginal languages.


Consonant inventory[3]
Peripheral Laminal Apical
Bilabial Velar Postalveolar Alveolar Retroflex
Plosives p k t ʈ
Nasals m ŋ n ɳ
Laterals l ɭ
Flaps ɾ ɽ
Approximants w ɣ j ɹ
Vowel inventory
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid ɛ ɔ
Low a

The phonemic inventories provided here are from Capell's well-known 1970 work on Maung.[3] More recent papers (Singer 2006;[5] Teo 2007[6]) have only two rhotics to Capell's three. Teo lacks the alveolar flap, and Singer the retroflex flap. (In a minor difference, both describe the approximant as retroflex, whereas Capell describes it as alveolar.)


Maung has five grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, vegetation, land, and edible.[7]

Alternative names[edit]


  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  2. ^ N64 Maung at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  3. ^ a b c Capell, A. & Hinch, H. E. 1970 Maung grammar; texts and vocabulary / A. Capell and H.E. Hinch Mouton, The Hague :
  4. ^ a b c "Maung". Ethnologue. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019.
  5. ^ Singer, R. 2006 Agreement in Mawng: Productive and lexicalised uses of agreement in an Australian language: The University of Melbourne Melbourne :
  6. ^ Teo, A. 2007 Breaking up is hard to do: teasing apart morphological complexity in Iwaidja and Maung:
  7. ^ Audring, Jenny; Corbett, Greville G.; Fedden, Sebastian, eds. (2018). Non-Canonical Gender Systems. Oxford University Press. pp. 103–109. ISBN 978-0198795438.
  8. ^ Garde, Murray. "kunmarung". Bininj Kunwok online dictionary. Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre. Retrieved 16 June 2019.