The language name is constructed with the word yuwaal 'no' + proprietive suffix -ayaay which indicates a characteristic 'having' or 'with', thus 'gamil-araay' or 'no-having'.
There are just a few words which are recorded as different in Yuwaalayaay D54 and Yuwaalaraay D27 while there are many more differences between these two languages and Gamilaraay D23. Therefore, linguistically, but not socially, it is established that Gamilaraay D23, Yuwaalaraay D27, Yuwaalayaay (D54) are dialects of a single language (Ash, Giacon and Lissarrague 2003: 5).
Wafer and Lissarrague make the case that Guyinbaraay D15, Wirraay-Wirraay D28 and Gawambaraay D39 are also dialects of the same language as Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaalayaay (2008: 216).
See also Yuwaalaraay D27 and Gamilaraay D23 for resources.
Mathews, Robert Hamilton. 1902. Languages of some native tribes of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Journal of the Royal Society of NSW 36:135-190.
It appears to have extended southwards to near Walgett, and northwards into the basin of the Moonie River (Williams 1980: 3). Tindale (1974: 199) says that the territory did not extend this far north, but gives no basis for this statement. To the west the boundary fell between the Culgoa and Birrie Rivers, and extended eastwards almost to Collarenebri. Within this it is not possible to define an exact boundary between Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaaliyaay. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that Yuwaaliyaay territory was predominantly to the north of the area, and Yuwaalaraay to the south. in the area bounded by the Barwon and Narran Rivers north of Lightning Ridge (Austin, Williams and Wurm 1980:169). Goodooga-Narran River area (Ash, Giacon, and Lissarrague 2003:5). Located upon a tract of country in southern Queensland, including Bokhara, Birrie, Narran, Ballonne and Moonie Rivers, and extend some distance within the New South Wales frontier (Mathews 1902:137) (Mathews does not seem to make a distinction between Yualeai (Yuwaalayaay) and Yuwaalaraay D27 thus the area given by Mathews probably includes the area for Yuwaalaraay.)
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See also Yuwaalaraay D27 and Gamilaraay D23.
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).
Williams, Corrine J. 1980. A grammar of Yuwaalaraay: Pacific Linguistic B74. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Ash, Anna, Giacon, John, and Lissarrague, Amanda. 2003. Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaalayaay dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.