Mangarrayi language

Mangarrayi (Manggarrai, Mungerry, Ngarrabadji) is an Australian language spoken in the Northern Territory. Its classification is uncertain. Margaret Sharpe originally sought to record the language but turned to the study of Alawa after the station owner where her informants lived denied her access, having tired of the presence of researchers on the property.[3]

Native toAustralia
RegionNorthern Territory
Native speakers
2 speakers[1]
  • Marran
    • Mangarrayi
Language codes
ISO 639-3mpc


The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics official census indicates that there are no speakers of Mangarrayi remaining, however elders Sheila Conway and Jessie Roberts are both speakers of Mangarrayi.[4] Conway continues to make an important contribution to language revitalization projects in the Jilkminggan community.

Numeric systemEdit

Mangarrayi has a number system that extends only to three.


Capell (1940) lists the following basic vocabulary items for Mungarai (Mangarayi):[5]

gloss Mungarai
man malaṉ
woman gaɖugu
head gaia
eye djib
nose miliŋ
mouth djäɽäb
tongue djawi
stomach daɽa
bone dama
blood guranjin
kangaroo garawi
opossum widjwidj
crow wagwag
fly mɔːdj
sun ganjwar
moon giidj
fire damaia
smoke gunburau
water ŋogo

Notes and referencesEdit


  1. ^ ABS. "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  2. ^ N78 Mangarrayi at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  3. ^ Sharpe 2008, p. 61,n.2.
  4. ^ Big river country : stories from Elsey Station. Dirngayg, Amy., Merlan, Francesca. Alice Springs, NT: IAD Press. 1996. ISBN 9780949659927. OCLC 36270843.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Capell, Arthur. 1940. The Classification of Languages in North and North-West Australia. Oceania 10(3): 241-272, 404-433. doi:10.1002/j.1834-4461.1940.tb00292.x


  • Sharpe, Margaret (2008). "Alawa and its Neighbours: Enigma Variations 1 and 2". In Bowern, Claire; Evans, Bethwyn; Miceli, Luisa (eds.). Morphology and Language History: In Honour of Harold Koch. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 59–70. ISBN 978-9-027-24814-5.
  • Bernard Comrie. 2013. Numeral Bases. In: Dryer, Matthew S. & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at, Accessed on 2017-04-27.)
  • Jessie Garalnganyjak Roberts et al., 2011, Mangarrayi and Yangman plants and animals : Aboriginal biocultural knowledge from Elsey and the Roper River, north Australia, Darwin : Dept. of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport : Diwurruwurru-Jaru Aboriginal Corp./Mimi Aboriginal Art & Craft
  • Merlan, F., 1982, Mangarayi, Lingua Descriptive Series, vol. 4, Amsterdam