Rembarrnga language

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Native toAustralia
RegionNorthern Territory
Native speakers
43 (2016 census)[1]
  • NE Rembarunga
  • Kaltuy (Galduyh)
Language codes
ISO 639-3rmb

Rembarrnga (Rembarunga) is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is one of the Northern Non-Pama–Nyungan languages, spoken in the Roper River region of the Northern territory. There are three dialects of Rembarrnga, namely Galduyh, Gikkik and Mappurn. It is a highly endangered language, with very few remaining fluent speakers. It is very likely that the language is no longer being learned by children. Instead, the children of Rembarrnga speakers are now learning neighbouring languages such as Kriol in south central Arnhem Land, and Kunwinjku, a dialect of Bininj Gunwok, in north central Arnhem Land.

Fluent speakers of Rembarrnga currently (2015) live in the remote towns of Maningrida and Ramingining, and in nearby outstations such as Borlkdjam, Buluhkaduru and Malnyangarnak. Some other communities associated with Rembarrnga are Ankebarrbirri, Barunga, Beswick and Bulman. Neighbouring languages include Dalabon, Burarra, Ngalakan, Ngandi and the Bininj Gunwok dialects Kunwinjku and Kune.

Linguists who have worked with Rembarrnga speakers to produce language materials include Graham McKay, Carolyn Coleman and Adam Saulwick. Principal works on Rembarrnga include a grammar,[4][5] a dictionary[6] and a learner's guide.[7]


  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rembarrnga". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ N73 Rembarrnga at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ McKay, Graham (1975). Rembarnga : a language of central Arnhem Land. Canberra: PhD Thesis, Australian National University.
  5. ^ Saulwick, Adam (2003). Aspects of the verb in Rembarrnga, a polysynthetic language of northern Australia: grammatical description, texts and dictionary. Melbourne: PhD Dissertation, University of Melbourne.
  6. ^ Saulwick, Adam (2003). A first dictionary of Rembarrnga - compiled by Adam Saulwick; incorporating material recorded by Carolyn Coleman and Graham McKay. Maningrida: Maningrida Arts and Culture.
  7. ^ Saulwick, Adam (2003). A learner's guide to the Rembarrnga language. Maningrida: Maningrida Arts and Culture.