Warray is a non-Pama Nyungan language in the Gunwinyguan language family from the Northern Territory. Harvey describes the relationship between Warray (N25) and Jawoyn N57 as closer to each other than either is to any other Gunwinyguan language, despite the fact they are not geographically contiguous. Two languages no longer spoken, Unwinymil N37.1 and Wulwulam N32 intervene; they indicate more in common with Warray than with Jawoyn, but the data are scarce, so their status cannot be established (2003:185, 299).
Harvey concludes that Ngorrkgowo N178 and Wulwulam N32 are alternative names for the same or similar language varieties, or that they refer to distinct language varieties which share considerable overlap in countries associated with them (2003:299). However, Harvey (2007 p.c.) now suspects that Ngorrkgowo is a dialect of Warray.
Originally in an area around the town of Adelaide River which is halfway between Darwin and Pine Creek (Harvey 1986:4). ... in the Margaret and upper Adelaide River valleys, including Adelaide River and Batchelor towns (Harvey PMS 5822).
Upper Adelaide river south of its junction with the Margaret (Top End Handbook). Their country extends west to include the area around Batchelor, then runs south-east along the watershed between the Douglas/Daly and the Adelaide/Margaret Rivers, and includes the headwaters of McKinlay River which runs back almost to Pine Creek (Ritchie in Sutton 1995:114).
South of Larrekiya, extending from Mounts Charles and Gun south to about the latitude of Mount Wells (Basedow 1907:2).
The general associations were to the Adelaide River drainage upstream from and including its junction with the Margaret River, to the Margaret River drainage between its junction with the Adelaide and its junction with McCallum Creek, and to the upper Finnis River drainage. There was little precise information on the limits of Warray associations in 2007. In the east, Howley siding on the North Australian railway was associated with Warray. Brock's Creek was associated with Wulwulam. Mt Ringwood homestead appears to have been associated with Warray, but this appears to have been close to the eastern limits of Warray associations. The Margaret River drainage upstream from and including its junction with McCallum Creek was associated with Wulwulam. In the north, the junction of the Margaret and the Adelaide marked the northern limit of Warray affiliations. The Marrakai Creek drainage was associated with Wuna. The Manton and Darwin River drainages were associated with Gulumoerrgin. In the west, boundaries are extrapolated from ecological zone changes - the shift from savannah forest towards grassland on the Finniss, and drainage basin boundaries - in the Tabletop Range area. In the south, boundaries are extrapolated principally from drainage basin boundaries. In the plateau country area, Warray associations extended to approximately the level of Mt Shoebridge. Plateau Point and Hayes Creek were associated with Wagiman (Harvey AILEC 0802).
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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).
Harvey, Mark. 1986. Ngoni Waray Amungal-yang: the Waray language from Adelaide River, Australian National University: MA.