Enindhilyagwa language

Enindhilyagwa language

Infobox Language
region=Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, Australia
family=Language isolate

Enindhilyagwa (several other names; see below) is an Australian language isolate spoken by the Warnindhilyagwa people on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia. A 2001 Australian government [http://www.deh.gov.au/soe/techpapers/languages/indicator3d.html study] identified more than one thousand speakers of the language, although there are reports of as many as three thousand. In 2008, it was cited in a study on whether humans had an innate ability to count without having words for numbers - which Enindhilyagwa does not have. [No byline, [http://news.yahoo.com/story//afp/20080819/sc_afp/sciencebritainaustraliaaborigineslanguage "Aboriginal children 'can count without numbers'"] , "Agence France Presse"] [The Science Show, [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2008/2375526.htm Genetic anomaly could explain severe difficulty with arithmetic] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation]


Spellings of the name include:
*Anindilyakwa (used by Ethnologue)
*Aninhdhilyagwa (used by R. M. W. Dixon's "Australian Languages")
*WanindilyaugwaIt also known as Groote Eylandt, after its location. Another name is Ingura or Yingguru.


Although sometimes grouped with the Gunwinyguan languages, Enindhilyagwa has not been shown to be related to other Australian languages, and recent attempts by Nicholas Evans at reducing the number of language families in Australia have left it as an isolate.



The analysis of Enindhilyagwa's vowels is open to interpretation. Stokes (1981) analyses it as having four phonemic vowels, IPA|/i e a u/. Leeding (1989) analyses it as having just two, IPA|/ɨ a/.



All Enindhilyagwa words end in a vowel. Clusters of up to three consonants can occur within words.


Noun classes

Enindhilyagwa has five noun classes, or genders, each marked by a prefix:
*Human male
*Non-human male
*Female (human or non-human)
*Inanimate "lustrous", with the prefix a-.
*Inanimate "non-lustrous", with the prefix mwa-.For bound pronouns, instead of "human male" and "non-human male" classes there is a single "male" class.

All native nouns carry a class prefix, but some loanwords may lack them.


*cite book |last=Leeding |first=V. J. |year=1989 |title=Anindilyakwa phonology and morphology |others=PhD dissertation |publisher=University of Sydney
*cite book |last=Leeding |first=V. J. |year=1996 |chapter=Body parts and possession in Anindilyakwa |editor=Chappell, H. and McGregor, W. |title=The grammar of inalienability: a typological perspective on body part terms and the part-whole relation |pages=193-249 |location=Berlin |publisher=Mounton de Gruyter
*cite book |last=Stokes |first=J. |year=1981 |chapter=Anindilyakwa phonology from phoneme to syllable |editor=Waters, B. |title=Australian phonologies: collected papers |pages=138–81 |location=Darwin |publisher=Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines Branch


External links

* [http://www.deh.gov.au/soe/techpapers/languages/index.html State of Indigenous Languages in Australia] (2001). Department of the Environment and Heritage.
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=aoi Ethnologue report for language code:aoi]

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