Lardil is a language from northern Australia in the Tangkic family, which 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).
Languages from the North Wellesley Islands and adjoining mainland include Lardil (G38), Yukulta G34, Kayardild G35 and Yangkaal G37 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).
Lardil (G38) incorporates a special speech variety called Demiin (G38) for use in particular occasions. Demiin (or: Damin) utilises a particular phonological range, and consist of a hundred or so word stems which exhibit highly abstract semantics to express the complex range of concepts spoken about in Lardil (Hale and Nash, 1997:247-8).
Blake defines the Tangkic group (Yukulta (G34) Lardil, G38, Kayardild G35) as non-Pama-Nyungan languages, based on the pronoun forms (1988:39).
Ash describes Lardil as Pama Nyungan (1997:7).
The northern Wellesley Islands, extending south to include the northern half of Denham Island (Harvey AILEC 0802).
Mornington Island and the shore of Appel Channel on Denham 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).
Klokeid, Terry. 1976. Topics in Lardil grammar, MIT: PhD.
Ngakulmungan Kangka Leman. 1997. Lardil dictionary : a vocabulary of the language of the Lardil people, Mornington Island, Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland : with English-Lardil finder list. Gununa, QLD: Mornington Shire Council.