Warndarrang is a non-Pama Nyungan language of the Northern Territory.
Warndarang (N120) is classed as 'moderately genetically' related to Mara N112 (and Alawa N92) by Heath, who notes their divergent morphological structures. Similarities in general structure may be due to diffusional interaction (1981:4). Heath notes that Warndarang was the principle language of a clan at the mouth of the Roper River, a coastal clan to the north and along the Phelp River, north from the Roper to near the coast. Harvey examines classifications of the Marran language family beginning with O'Grady et al., who proposed it consisted of Marra N112, Warndarrang (N78) (and Alawa N92) a theory supported by Heath (see above); Merlan adds Mangarrayi N78 to this group.
Harvey cites a lack of evidence, such as no common grammatical innovations, to link Marra and Warndarrang genetically. The high shared vocabulary count between them must be a result of borrowing (2012:358). This conclusion places the rest of the Marran family in some doubt (Harvey, 2012:329). See also Yukul N85.
Phelp River, inland from coast; west to Mount Leane (Tindale 1974). The affiliations of Warndarrang are principally taken from Heath. The affiliations of Warndarrang were coastal extending from the Towns River to approximately Minnie Creek. They extended inland up to 20kms. Wonmurri Waterhole on the Phelps River was at the western limit of Warndarrang affiliations (Harvey ASEDA 802).
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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).
Heath, Jeffrey. 1980. Basic materials in Warndarang: grammar, texts and dictionary: Pacific Linguistics B72, Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.