There is some uncertainty around the nature of the relationship between languages around the lower Murray River. According to Tindale (1974), Nganguruku was sometimes grouped with Ngaiawang S7 but the vocabularies show differences.
McDonald (2002:15) comments that Nganguruku, Ngaiawang, Ngaralti S4 and Ngawait S10 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 Ngangaruku, Ngayawang S7 and Ngawadj S10 as distinct languages.
The term Meru is sometimes applied to Ngangaruku 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 S19 and Ngintait S18 also'. Dowling (1990:25) remarks that 'the Jirawirung S12 and Ngawait S10 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'.
On Murray River from Mannum to south Rhine River junction; west to scarp of Mount Lofty Ranges (Tindale 1974). ... the banks of the Murray River from Mannum to about Herman's Landing (Radcliffe-Brown 1918:243).
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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).