Yuin–Kuric languages

Yuin–Kuric languages
New South Wales, ACT, and SE Queensland, Australia
Linguistic classification: Pama–Nyungan
  • Yuin–Kuric

The Yuin–Kuric languages are a group of indigenous Australian languages within the Pama–Nyungan family.[1] These languages are divided into the Yuin, Kuri, and Yora subgroups,[2] 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, as well as surrounding areas. Most of the Yuin–Kuric languages are now extinct.

The koala is named from the word gula for the animal in Dharuk,[3] a Yuin–Kuri language within the Yora subgroup, and the same word occurs in other Yuin–Kuri languages, such as Gundungurra,[4] within the Yuin subgroup.


Yuin subgroup

The Yuin subgroup includes:[2]

Kuri subgroup

Australia map, States.svg

Approximate location for
some Yuin-Kuric languages

Older classifications also included the following,[2] which have since been split off as two additional branches of Pama–Nyungan:[7]

  • Awabakal language, spoken around Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. Awabakal was studied by Reverend Lancelot Edward Threlkeld from 1825 until his death in 1859, assisted by Biraban, the tribal leader, and parts of the Bible were translated into the language. For example, the Gospel of Mark begins: "Kurrikuri ta unni Evanelia Jesu úmba Krist koba, Yenal ta noa Eloi úmba."[8] The language is currently in early stages of revival.
  • Anaiwan or Nganyaywana language, an extinct language from northeastern New South Wales.[5]
  • Dhanggatti, Daingatti, Djangadi, Dyangadi, Thangatti, or Dunghutti language, a language from northeastern New South Wales (some researchers also include Nganyaywana here[9]).

Yora subgroup

The word "koala" is derived from "gula" in the Dharuk and Gundungurra languages

The Yora (or Iyora) subgroup is sometimes divided among the other two subgroups. Spoken in the region of Sydney, it is sometimes defined to include the Awabakal language[5] listed above, as well as:[2]


Jeremy Steele's partial reconstruction of the Sydney language[11] 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
Dharuk Yora ngaya nyindi, ngindi nanu ngali

Alternate views

As noted above, some researchers subdivide the Yuin–Kuric languages differently from others, and several languages of the Kuri subgroup have been otherwise classified within the Pama–Nyungan family.

Australian linguist R. M. W. Dixon rejects the concept of Pama–Nyungan languages completely, and indeed questions the traditional "family-tree" model of linguistic change. Dixon's classification does not include the Yuin–Kuric languages as a category.[12] Dixon presents a geographically-based classification, which has considerable overlap with the three subgroups Yuin, Kuri, and Yora:

Classification above Dixon[12]
Yuin P: Southern New South Wales group
Ngarigo languages Pa: Southern tablelands group (with Pa2 = Ngarigo and Pa1 = Ngunnawal)
Gundungurra included in Pa1
Tharawal languages Pb: New South Wales south coast group (with Pb1 = Tharawal, Pb2 = Dhurga, Pb3 = Dyirringanj, and Pb4 = Thawa)
Kuri N: Central New South Wales group
Awabakal and Gadjang/Worimi Na: Awabagal/Gadjang subgroup (with Na1 = Awabakal and Nb2 = Gadjang/Worimi)
Djangadi and Anaiwan/Nganyaywana Nb: Djangadi/Nganyaywana subgroup (with Nb1 = Djangadi and Nb2 = Anaiwan/Nganyaywana)
Yugambal not included here (part of M: Central east coast group)
no equivalent Nc: Central inland New South Wales subgroup (Wiradhuric languages)
Yora O: Sydney subgroup
Dharuk O1: Dharuk
Darkinjung O2: Darkinjung


  1. ^ AIATSIS Language and Peoples Thesaurus, accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Merritt Ruhlen, A Guide to the World's Languages: Classification, Stanford University Press, 1991, p 363, ISBN 0804718946.
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Eugene Stockton, Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, Three Sisters Productions, 1993, p. 88, ISBN 0646148834.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Christopher Moseley, Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, Routledge, 2007, ISBN 070071197X.
  6. ^ Yugambeh Museum web site introduction, web site by the Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture, accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  7. ^ Ethnologue: Awabakal
  8. ^ Awaba electronic database: Language, accessed 26 Jan 2010.
  9. ^ Ethnologue: Nganyaywana
  10. ^ See the William Dawes web site, accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  11. ^ Jeremy Steele's Master of Arts thesis, 2005
  12. ^ a b R. M. W. Dixon, Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development, Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. xxxiv–xxxv, ISBN 0521473780.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yuin people — Aka: Thurga (Tindale) Dhawa (AIATSIS), Dhu Dhurga (SIL) South East Corner BioRegion …   Wikipedia

  • List of extinct languages of Oceania — This is a list of extinct languages of Oceania, languages that underwent language death and have no native speakers and no spoken descendant.Numerous Australian Aboriginal languages, including; *Minkin *Yolngu languages *Pama Maric languages… …   Wikipedia

  • Pama-Nyungan languages — Infobox Language family name=Pama Nyungan familycolor=Australian region= Victoria River, Northern Territory fam1= Macro Pama Nyungan fam2=Greater Pama Nyungan child1 = Yolŋu Matha child2 = Pama Maric child3 = Nyawaygic child4 = Waka Kabic child5 …   Wikipedia

  • Ngunnawal language — Ngunnawal Onerwal Spoken in New South Wales ACT, Australia Ethnicity Ngunnawal people Native speakers ?  (date missing) …   Wikipedia

  • Sydney language — Sydney Dharug, Iyora Spoken in New South Wales Extinct Late 19th/early 20th century Language family Pama–Nyungan …   Wikipedia

  • Tharawal language — Tharawal Spoken in New South Wales, Australia Extinct ? Language family Pama–Nyungan Yuin–Kuric Yuin …   Wikipedia

  • Darkinjung language — Darkinjung Spoken in New South Wales, Australia Extinct ? Language family Pama–Nyungan Yuin–Kuric Yora …   Wikipedia

  • Yora language — Nahua language redirects here. For the language of the Nahua people of Mexico, see Nahuatl. For the Australian Aboriginal language group Yora, see Yuin–Kuric languages. Yora Spoken in Peru Region Manu Park, Panagua River Native speakers >450… …   Wikipedia

  • Thaua people — Infobox generic color = #FFFF99 name = Thaua people sub0 = img1 = IBRA 6.1 South East Corner.png width1 = 220px cap1 = South East Corner BioRegion hdr1 = Hierarchy lbl1 = Language Family: row1 = Pama Nyungan lbl2 = Language Branch: row2 = Yuin… …   Wikipedia