Karajarri is a Pama-Nyungan language in the Marrngu subgroup. The Kimberley Handbook says there are three dialects of Karajarri: Najanaja A106 or Murrkurt (Murgud) A106 from the coast; Nawurtu (Naurdu) A107 from the inland; and Nangu A105 (sometimes mistakenly spelled Ngangu) from the middle, between the inland and the coastal dialects. Oates lists a fourth dialect, Ngawudu, but that this is almost certainly a mishearing of Nawurtu A107 (in McGregor 1988:146). McGregor says that owners of the Nangu A105, Najanaja A106 and Nawurtu A107 language varieties regard them as types of Karajarri and use both the general and more specific terms in reference to their language (2004:9).
Weber investigates the Marrngu sub-group, first described by O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin, consisting of Karajarri, Nyangumarta A61 and Mangala A65. Weber’s comparative study of these three language varieties includes evidence that the aberrant phonotactics and phoneme distribution are a result of a high number of loanwords from the surrounding Nyulnyulan languages. The stability of verbal conjugations and inflectional systems in the Marrngu languages provides evidence for relatedness. Weber concludes the similarities between these three varieties result from shared archaisms and a shared absence of innovation (2009:2).
Previously the Thesaurus linked both Karajarri and Kurajarra A85 to the code A64. As they appear to be distinct, AUSTLANG now has a separate heading for Kurajarra A85.
From Cape Villaret at the south point of Roebuck Bay southwest to Manari, a native meeting place 10 miles (16 km.) north of Anna Plains Station (Jawinja); inland about 70 miles (110 km.). Lendjarkading, a known water on D. Munro's Station block, Redjarth (two days walk farther inland), Undurmadatj, and Mount Phire, n.n. ['Paijara], are at limits of the tribal area (Tindale 1974).
Roughly, Karajarri was traditionally spoken just south of Yawuru along the coast ...(Weber, 2009:2).
Contemporary location: Bidyadanga, Broome (Dixon 2011:29).
Search MURA people®
Search MURA language®
McGregor, William. 1988 Handbook of Kimberley Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. © Author.
AIATSIS gratefully acknowledge William McGregor for permission to use his material in AUSTLANG.
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).
Sands, Anna Kristina. 1989. A grammar of Garadjari, Western Australia, Australian National University: BA (Hons).
Johnson, Edward. 1992. Karajarri sketch grammar, University of Sydney: BA (Hons).
McKelson, Fr Kevin R. Karajarri Wordlist, ASEDA 0069.