D27: Yuwaalaraay

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Kamilaroi (Juwalarai/Ualarai)
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
Tindale (1974)
Yualarai, Yualloroi, Yowaleri, Uollaroi, Youallerie, Yualari, Yualai, Yualeai, Yerraleroi, Yowairi, Yuolary, Eu-ahlayi, Yourilri, Youahlayi, Jualjai, Juwaljai, Yuwalyai, Wallarai, Wolleroi, Walleri, Woleroi, Wollaroi, Gingi (name of a station on bank of Barwon River opposite Walgett), Brewarrana tribe ([u'al] = ['wol] = ['wal] means 'yes'; the correct Ualarai negative is ['wongo]; Radcliffe-Brown was in error in recording 'yual' as meaning 'no').
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Jualrai [Holmer 1983] Yowalleri [Barlow 1873] Yowalri [Quinn 1897] Wallarai [Mathews]
Wiraiari, Kamilaroi, Juwalarai/Ualarai, Euahlayi, Gamilaroi, Guyinbaray, Juwalarai, Ualarai, Walarai, Weraerai, Wirajarai, Yuwalarai, Jualrai, Yualarai, Yualloroi, Yowaleri, Uollaroi, Youallerie, Yualari, Yualai, Yualeai, Yerraleroi, Yowairi, Yuolary, Eu ahlayi, Yourilri, Youahlayi, Jualjai, Juwaljai, Yuwalyai, Wallarai, Wolleroi, Walleri, Woleroi, Wollaroi, Gingi, Brewarrana tribe, yuwalaray, yuwalaraay

The language name is constructed with the word yuwaal 'no' + proprietive suffix -araay which indicates a characteristic 'having' or 'with', thus 'yuwaal-araay' or 'no-having'. It is established that Gamilaraay D23, Yuwaalaraay D27, Yuwaalayaay D54 are dialects of a single language. One difference of note between Gamailaraay and Yuwaalaraay is the correspondance between /r /and /y/ in pairs such as maaru – maayu 'well'; muru – muyu 'nose'; biruu – biyuu 'hole' (Ash, Giacon and Lissarrague 2003: 5).

Wafer and Lissarrague make the case that Guyinbaraay D15,  Wirraay-Wirraay D28 and Gawambaraay  D39 are also dialects of this language with no name (2008: 216).


  • Austin, Peter, Corinne J. Williams and Stephen Wurm. 1980. The linguistic situation in north central New South Wales. In Papers in Australian Linguistics 13, 167-180. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Dixon, R.M.W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Oates, Lynette F. 1975. The 1973 supplement to a revised linguistic survey of Australia. Armidale: Armidale Christian Book Centre.
  • Tindale, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Berkeley: University of California Press/Canberra: Australian National University Press.
  • Wafer, Jim, and Amanda Lissarrague. 2008. A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Nambucca Heads: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative.
  • Williams, Corinne J. 1980. A grammar of Yuwaalaraay: Pacific Linguistics B-74. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Wurm, S. A. 1972. Languages of Australia and Tasmania. The Hague: Mouton.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

It appears to have extended southwards to near Walgett, and northwards into the basin of the Moonie River (Williams 1980:3) Tindale (1974:199) says that the territory did not extend this far north, but gives no basis for this statement. To the west the boundary fell between the Culgoa and Birrie Rivers, and extended eastwards almost to Collarenebri. Within this it is not possible to define an exact boundary between Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaaliyaay. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that Yuwaaliyaay territory was predominantly to the north of the area, and Yuwaalaraay to the south. between Lightning Ridge and Naroon Lake (Austin, Williams and Wurm 1980:169).


A year 7-8 Yuwaalaraay-Gamilaraay course was taught at Walgett High and Goodooga Central School in 1999 and 2001. The text book for the course and a wordlist were published early 1999. The language is taught at school in Walgett under a language program which started in 1996. A similar program is offered at Goodooga Central School since 1997. Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation received funding from the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program in the 2008-2009 financial year in order to teach the Yuwaalaraay/Murrawarri languages to students and community members in Goodooga.

Anna Ash, John Giacon, Amanda Lissarrague, Janet Mathews, Corrine Williams, Norman Tindale, R.H. Mathews, Fr Ernest Worms, Stephen Wurm
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers

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).

Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Small (20-100 pages) 2
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available (unclear content)

Williams, Corrine. 1980 A grammar of Yuwaalaraay: Pacific Linguistic B74. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


Ash, Anna, Giacon, John, and Lissarrague, Amanda. 2003. Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaalayaay dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press. Giacon, John and Nahtan, David. 2009. Gayarragi, Winangali - Find and Hear (an electronic resource available from http://lah.soas.ac.uk/projects/gw/. Includes words, sentences, stories and songs.)

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL NEW SOUTH WALES GROUP Central inland New South Wales subgroup* Yuwaalaraay | Wiraiari Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Williams (1980) further dialects: Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaaliyaay (Euahlayi), Gunjbaraay, Gawambaraay, Wirayaraay (or Wiriwiri), Walaraay | Wiradhurri (or Wirratherie or Wirradgerry or Waradgery or Woradgery, etc.) H. Hale (1846), Günther (1892) possible further dialect: Wiraiari
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Wiradhuric   Yuwaalaraay Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) [dialects: Gamilaraay, Northern Gamilaraay, Guyinbaraay, Gamilaraay, Wiriyaraay, Gawambaraay, Yuwaaliyaay]
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Yuwalarai  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Yuwalarai  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)