Kayardild is a language from northern Australia in the Tangkic language family. The Tangkic languages have genetic affiliation with the non-Pama Nyungan languages of Arnhem Land, but long term contact with Pama Nyungan languages led to morphological and lexical borrowing, and a 'typological convergence ... away from the non-Pama-Nyungan headmarking, prefixing type to a fairly typical Pama-Nyungan type ... (Evans, 1995: 30, 38). Evans uses the spelling Kayardild for the language and Kaiadilt for the people (1995:8).
Blake defines the Tangkic group (Yukulta (G34) Lardil, G38, Kayardild G35) as non-Pama-Nyungan languages, based on the pronoun forms (1988:39).
Languages from the North Wellesley Islands and adjoining mainland include Kayardild (G35), Yangkaal G37, Yukulta G34 and Lardil G38 which O'Grady - Voegelin - Voegelin (1966) classified in the 'Tangkic' group (tangka means 'person' in all four languages). Evans classifies Kayardild (G35) and Yangkaal G37 as dialects of one language (South Wellesley), while Yukulta G34 and Nguburindi G19 are dialects of a separate, but closely related language (Mainland). Lardil (Mornington Island) is further removed,having a historical relationship with Proto-Tangkic (1995:9, 12).
The Kaiadilt's traditional lands comprised the South Wellesley Island: Bentinck Island, Sweeers Island, several smaller islands, and sometimes Allen Island (Evans 1995:9).
The South Wellesley Islands extending west to Allen Island which was shared with Yangkaal (Harvey ASEDA 802). Bentinck Island and surrounding reefs; west to Allen Island (Tindale 1974).
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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).
Evans, Nick. 1995. A grammar of Kayardild: with historical-comparative notes on Tangkic. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Evans, Nick. 1992. Kayardild dictionary and thesaurus: a vocabulary of the language of the Bentinck Islanders, North-west Queensland. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.