There is some uncertainty around the nature of the relationship between languages around the lower Murray River.
According to Tindale (1974), Ngaiawang (S7) was sometimes grouped with Nganguruku S6 but the vocabularies show differences.
McDonald (2002:15) comments that Ngaiawang, Ngaralti S4, Nganguruku and Ngawait S10 seem to be closely related each other, and Wafer and Lissarrague (2008) group them together under the 'Lower Riverland language'. Wafer and Lissarrague (2008:31) also note that these names are likely to be dialects rather than 'alternative designations', citing the distinct locations and differences in kinship terms described in Radcliffe-Brown (1918:243).
The Mobile Language Team treats Ngayawang, Ngangaruku and Ngawadj S10 as distinct languages.
The term Meru is sometimes applied to Ngayawang and several other languages in the area, being the word for 'man' in those languages. Radcliffe-Brown (1918:246) notes that this includes the 'Nganguruku and Ngaiyan (S7)? languages, and probably those of the Nanait S10?, Yiran S12, Yuyu S19 and Ngintait S18 also'. Dowling (1990:25) remarks that 'the Jirawirung S12 and Ngawait were part of a major linguistic group, the Meru, which extended west along the Murray River from the Pyap Bend and south towards Lake Alexandrina (Tindale 1974) and included the Ngaiawang, Nganguruku and Ngintait speakers.'
... along Murray River Between Murray Bridge and Blanchetown (According to map in Horgen 2004). Along Murray River from Herman Landing to Penn Reach; west to scarp of Mount Lofty Ranges. Devon Downs Rock-shelter, Ngautngaut, was at their southern boundary (Tindale 1974). ... the banks of the Murray River about the North-West bend (Radcliffe-Brown 1918:246).
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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).
Moorehouse, Matthew and Simpson, Jane. Ngaiawang vocabulary, ASEDA 0255. Horgen, Michael. 2004. The Languages of the Lower-Murray, La Trobe University: MA.