N112: Marra

AIATSIS Code: 
N112
AIATSIS Reference name: 
Marra

tab group

Name
ABN Name
-
ABS Name
Marra
Horton Name
Mara
Ethnologue name
Mara
ISO 639-3 code
mec
Tindale name
Mara
Thesaurus heading
Mara / Marra language (N112) (NT SD53-11)
Tindale (1974)
Marra, Leelalwarra (after Jalwara, a place name, an important lagoon south of Roper River), ? Walkonda.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Marra, Leelawarra
Glottocode
mara1385
Other sources
Maarra (used by the community) [Evans 2005:251] Marra (Power), Mara (Spencer and Gillen 1904) [Basedow 1907:3]
Synonyms
Marranbala
Mara
Warndarang
Leelalwarra
Leelawarra
Mala
Walkonda
Mara; Leelalwarra
Mara; Leelawarra
Ma:ra
Maarra
Walkonda
Comment
Language comment
Marra is a non-Pama Nyungan language of the Northern Territory. Mara (N112) is classed as 'moderately genetically' related to Warndarang N120 (and Alawa N92) by Heath, who notes their divergent morphological structures. Similarities in general structure may be due to diffusional interaction (1981:4). Heath notes that Mara is a linguistic, not social grouping, and that it is the principle language of at least three remaining clans whose estates were 'on and around' the Limmen Bight River and its mouth (Heath, 1981:1). Mara speakers are known by their semimoiety and European names. Harvey examines classifications of the Marran language family beginning with O'Grady et al., who proposed it consisted of Marra (N112), Warndarrang N78 (and Alawa N92) a theory supported by Heath (see above); Merlan adds Mangarrayi N78 to this group. Harvey cites a lack of evidence, such as no common grammatical innovations, to link Marra and Warndarrang genetically. The high shared vocabulary count between them must be a result of borrowing (2012:358). This conclusion places the rest of the Marran family in some doubt (Harvey, 2012:329). See also Yukul N85.
References

Harvey, Mark. 2012. Wandarrang and Marr: A diffusional or genetic relationship? in Australian Journal of Linguistics (32)3 ed. Keith, A. pp 327-360.
Heath, Jeffrey G. 1981. Basic materials in Mara: grammar, texts and dictionary: Pacific Linguistics C-60. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Thompson, Maureen Marrangulu and Dinah Garadji and Betty Roberts. 1994. Niwi-rlini Nyawurlbarr-yurr ... We went to Mission Gorge ... Katherine NT : Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre.
Singer, Ruth. 2002. Alphabetical Marra dictionary. Katherine, N.T. : Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation.

Status
Confirmed
Location
State
NT
Location information
Roper River, up to circa Ngukurr, and from the Phelp River to the Limmen Bight River (Top End Handbook). Yugul Limmen River, north of the Allawa, to the coast, and west of the Anula (Basedow 1907:3). Tidal reaches of Roper River nearly to mouth of Hodgson River, south to Limmen Bight River; eastward to coast and Maria Island, north to Edward Island (Tindale 1974). The general associations were to the lower and middle Limmen Bight River. On the coast, affiliations included Maria Island and apparently Wuraliwuntya Creek. There was no precise information on the extent of inland affiliations in 2007. Marra affiliations on the Cox River extended from its junction with the Limmen Bight upstream for the portion of the Cox which runs east-west. When the Cox changes to run south-west & north-east, affiliations shift to Alawa. Nathan River homestead was associated with Marra. Marra affiliations extended towards Bauhinia Downs homestead (Harvey ASEDA 802).
Maps
-
Catalogue
Search MURA the AIATSIS catalogue, for items about this language
Speakers
Speaker table
Oates 1973 Senate 1984 Schmidt 1990 Census 1996 Census 2001 NILS 2004 2005 estimate Census 2006
- - - - - 23 23 58
Speaker NILS table
- - - -
1-19 years 20-39 years 40-59 years 60+
NILS endangerment grade
0
Documentation
Document Score: 
14
Documentation table: 
Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Grammar Large grammar (more than 200 pages) 4
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript Note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Grammar: 
Heath, Jeffrey. 1981. Basic materials in Mara: grammar, texts and dictionary: Pacific Linguistics C60. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Dictionary: 
Singer, Ruth. 2002. Marra dictionary. Katherine, NT: Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation.
Programs
Activities: 
Ngukurr Community Education Centre is running a language program (2006).
People: 
Jeffrey Heath, Margaret Sharpe, Ruth Singer, Ngkurr Language Centre, Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre, Ngukurr Community Education Centre, Greg Dickson
Indigenous organisations: 
Classification
Classification table: 
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Gunwingguan Maran Mara Mara Mara [dialects: Related to Warndarrang and Yugul, which may be extinct.]
Dixon (2002)   ARNHEM LAND GROUP Marra/Warndarrang subgroup* Marra (or Marranbala) Marra (or Marranbala) Heath (1981a) possible further dialect: Yugul
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981) Maran Mara Gariyimar Mara  
Oates (1975) Maran Maric Gariyimar Mara  
Wurm (1972) Maran Maric Gariyimar Mara  
O'Grady, Voegelin & Voegelin (1966) Maran Maric Gariyimar Mara