Yuin–Kuric languages

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EthnicityYuin, Eora, Koori
New South Wales, ACT, and SE Queensland, Australia
Linguistic classificationPama–Nyungan
  • Southeast
    • New South Wales
      • Yuin–Kuric
  • Yuin
  • Yora
  • Kuri
Yuin-Kuric languages.png
Yuin–Kuric languages (green) among other Pama–Nyungan (tan). From southwest to northeast, the three groups are Yuin, Yora, and Kuri.

The Yuin–Kuric languages are a family of mainly extinct Australian Aboriginal languages that existed in the south east of Australia.

They belong in the Pama–Nyungan family.[1] These languages are divided into the Yuin, Kuri, and Yora groups, although exact classifications vary between researchers. Yuin–Kuric languages were spoken by the original inhabitants of what are now the cities of Sydney and Canberra. Most are now extinct.

The koala is named from the word gula for the animal in the Dharug language,[2] a Yuin–Kuri language within the Yora group, and the same word occurs in other Yuin–Kuri languages, such as Gundungurra,[3] within the Yuin group.

As of 2020, Yuin is listed as one of 20 languages prioritised as part of the Priority Languages Support Project, being undertaken by First Languages Australia and funded by the Department of Communications and the Arts. The project aims to "identify and document critically-endangered languages — those languages for which little or no documentation exists, where no recordings have previously been made, but where there are living speakers".[4]


The constituent languages are groups are arranged from southwest to northeast:

Yuin group[edit]

The Yuin (southern) group includes:

Yora group[edit]

Australia map, States.svg

Approximate location for
some Yuin-Kuric languages
The word "koala" is derived from "gula" in the Dharuk and Gundungurra languages

The Yora or Iyora (central) group is accepted by Dixon.[6]

They were spoken in the region of Sydney.

Kuri group[edit]

The Kuri (northern) group has been reduced to its southernmost languages:

Languages once classified as Kuric include Yugambal, Yuggarabul (Yuggera), and Nganyaywana (Anaiwan) further north.


Jeremy Steele's partial reconstruction of the Sydney language[8] includes a comparison of pronouns in several Yuin–Kuric languages. The following partial and simplified version shows some of the similarities and differences across the family:

Language Group I You (singular) He We two (inclusive) We two (exclusive) We all (inclusive)
Gundungurra Yuin gula-ngGa, gula-nga gulandyi dhanaladhu gulanga gulangala(ng) gulanyan, gulambanya(n)
Tharawal Yuin ngayagang(ga) nyindigang namarang ngulgang ngangaling(ga) nyulgang(ga)
Awabakal Kuri ngaduwa nginduwa nyuwuwa bali balinuwa ngiyin
Darkinjung Yora ngaya nyindi, ngindi nuwa ngaliya ngungaliya ngiyang
Dharug Yora ngaya nyindi, ngindi nanu ngali


  1. ^ AIATSIS Language and Peoples Thesaurus Archived 9 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  2. ^ Dixon, R.M.W.; Moore, Bruce; Ramson, W. S.; Thomas, Mandy (2006). Australian Aboriginal Words in English: Their Origin and Meaning (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0-19-554073-5.
  3. ^ Eugene Stockton, Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, Three Sisters Productions, 1993, p. 88, ISBN 0-646-14883-4.
  4. ^ "Priority Languages Support Project". First Languages Australia. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Christopher Moseley, Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, Routledge, 2007, ISBN 0-7007-1197-X.
  6. ^ Dixon, R. M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Cambridge University Press. p. xxxv.
  7. ^ See the William Dawes web site, accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  8. ^ Jeremy Steele's Master of Arts thesis, 2005