|6 (2006 census)|
Grammatically it resembles other Nyulnyulan languages. It has a relatively free word order.
It has few fluent speakers, but continues to be taught in schools in Broome.
The vowel phonemes are short vowels /i/, /a/, and /u/, and long vowels /i:/, /a:/, and /u:/ (spelled ii, aa, uu).
Consonantal segments include:
Speakers also use glottal stops, implosives, and ejectives.
Syllable structure in the initial position is #CV(:) (C(C)), in the medial position is CV(:)(C), and in the final position is CV(C(C))#. # representing the word boundary, C standing for consonant, V for vowel, and V: for long vowel. The most common syllables are CV or CVC (CV: or CV:C).
There is no noun class in Yawuru. Adverbs belong to the same class and nominals. There is a verb class. Nouns and adjectives are distinguished through semantic context.
Nominals inflect for case and adverbs, belonging to this class, take case markers. Case markers are signified by enclitics. Nominals do not have a declension class. Verbs inflect to denote person, number, tense, mood, and aspect. Prefixes, suffixes, and enclitics are used to conjugate verbs.
There are four person categories in Yawuru: first person, second person, third person, and fourth person, which is made up by a first person inclusive (includes the speaker and the hearer).
Word order is flexible.
Yawuru has a large borrowing from Pama-Nyungan languages, neighboring languages. The vocabulary is specifically strong in terms of environment, reflecting on the culture.
- Yawuru at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Yawuru". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Yawuru Ngan-ga, a Phrasebook of the Yawuru Language, Magabala, 1995.
- This map is indicative only.
- Hosokawa, K (1991). "The Yawuru Language of West Kimberly: a meaning based description". Australian National University.
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