Wangka Maya (2001:7) notes that Kariyarra is closely related to Ngarluma W38 and, according to a 'purely linguistic classification' (such as Dixon (1980), Dench (1982), and Thieberger (1993)), they are dialects of the same language.
Note, though, that Wangka Maya and Dixon (1980) treat Kariyarra as a dialect 'of' Ngarluma while Dench says Kariyarra is a dialect 'with' Ngarluma and Theiberger says they are 'dialects of the same language'.
Note also that Dixon (2002) treats them both as members of the Pilbara/Ngayarta areal group, along with Nhuwala W30, Martuthunira W35, Panyjima A53, Yinjtjiparnti/Kurrama W37 / W36, Tjurruru W33, Palyku A55, Nyamal A58 and Ngarla A48.
The Kariyarra people originally lived around the Port Hedland region, from Port Hedland west to Sherlock River and south down to the Yule River. They were driving inland when white settlers invaded the area, and subsequently many coastal terms have been lost to current speakers (Wangka Maya 2001:7).
On the Peeawah, Yule, and Turner rivers and east to Port Hedland. Their western boundary, on divide between Peeawah and Ballaballa creeks extended south to foot of the scarp of the Hamersley tableland in the headwaters of the Yule River; at Mungaroon Range, Turner River area north of Wodgina, at Yandeyarra, and east to a line joining McPhee Hill, Tabba Tabba Homestead, and the mouth of Petermarer Creek 10 miles (16 km.) east of Port Hedland. The area east of Turner River was seldom visited for fear of the Njamal. The Indjibandi are claimed as being inland Kariara, who became separated by reason of their accept ance of the rite of circumcision. Kariara and Indjibandi were at enmity over this in immediately pre-European times. (Tindale 1974).
Kariera were much smaller [than the area on Davis's map] and confined to the coast (Palmer in Sutton 1995:99).
Contemporary location Port Hedland, Roebourne, Yandeyarra, Woodstock (Dixon 2011:34).
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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).
Wangka Maya PALC. 2001. Kariyarra wordlists & sketch grammar. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya PALC.
Wangka Maya PALC. 2001. Kariyarra wordlists & sketch grammar. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya PALC. Wangka Maya PALC. 2001. Karriyarra topical wordlist and accompanying picture book. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya PALC.