There is some uncertainty around the nature of the relationship between languages around the lower Murray River.
McDonald (2002:15) comments that Ngawait (S10), Nganguruku S6, Ngaiawang S7 and Ngaralti S4 seem to be closely related each other, and Wafer and Lissarrague (2008) group them together under the 'Lower Riverland language'. Wafer and Lissarrague (2008:31) also note that these names are likely to be dialects rather than 'alternative designations', citing the distinct locations and differences in kinship terms described in Radcliffe-Brown (1918:243).
The Mobile Language Team treats Ngawadj, Ngangaruku and Ngayawang S7 each as distinct languages, while Walsh (1981) treats Ngawait as one of four dialects of Yuyu S19, the other dialects being Erawirung S12, Ngintait S18 and Ngarkat S9. It appears that the only available resource on Ngawadj is kinship terms in Radcliffe-Brown (1918:243).
The term Meru is sometimes applied to Ngawadj and several other languages in the area, being the word for 'man' in those languages. Radcliffe-Brown (1918:246) notes that this includes the 'Nganguruku and Ngaiyan S7? languages, and probably those of the Nanait (S10)?, Yiran S12, Yuyu and Ngintait also'. Dowling (1990:25) remarks that 'the Jirawirung S12 and Ngawait were part of a major linguistic group, the Meru, which extended west along the Murray River from the Pyap Bend and south towards Lake Alexandrina (Tindale 1974) and included the Ngaiawang, Nganguruku and Ngintait speakers.'
Banks of Murray River from between Boggy Flat and Penn Reach to near Loxton; on western side of Barmera Lake (Tindale 1974). the banks of the Murray River between Boggy Flan and Loxton (Radcliffe-Brown 1918:247).
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Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.
Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).