Yawuru language

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Yawuru
Region Australia
Native speakers
6 (2006 census)[1]
Dialects
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ywr
Glottolog yawu1244[2]
AIATSIS[1] K1

Yawuru is a Western Nyulnyulan language spoken on the coast south of Broome in Western Australia.

Grammatically it resembles other Nyulnyulan languages. It has a relatively free word order.[3]

It has few fluent speakers, but continues to be taught in schools in Broome.

Map of the traditional lands of Australian Aboriginal tribes around Derby, Western Australia.[4]

Phonology[edit]

The vowel phonemes are short vowels /i/, /a/, and /u/, and long vowels /i:/, /a:/, and /u:/ (spelled ii, aa, uu).

Consonantal segments include:[5]

Lax stops b d rd dy k/g
Tense stops p t rt ty kk
Nasals m n rn ny ng
Flaps rr rry
Lateral approximants l rl ly
Median approximants r y w

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).

Grammar[edit]

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.

Morphology[edit]

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).

Syntax[edit]

Word order is flexible.

Vocabulary[edit]

Yawuru has a large borrowing from Pama-Nyungan languages, neighboring languages. The vocabulary is specifically strong in terms of environment, reflecting on the culture.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yawuru 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). "Yawuru". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Yawuru Ngan-ga, a Phrasebook of the Yawuru Language, Magabala, 1995.
  4. ^ This map is indicative only.
  5. ^ Hosokawa, K (1991). "The Yawuru Language of West Kimberly: a meaning based description". Australian National University.