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©2018 by CIARA

Jaru

Jaru is a word meaning ‘language’ or ’speech’ in a number of mutually intelligible dialects within the Ngumbin subgroup of the Pama-Nyungan language family. The language name Jaru is normally used to refer to a group of dialects spoken in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. As such, the Jaru language includes a western dialect (Wawarl, previously spoken around Lamboo Station, Ruby plains and the old town of Halls Creek) and some eastern dialects (previously spoken on Sturt Creek, Gordon Downs, Flora Valley Nicholson and Turner River stations), sometimes collectively known as Nyininy. Most Jaru people live in the town of Halls Creek and in the surrounding communities of Billiluna, Warn.gu, Balgo and Yaruman (Ringer Soak). 

 

Jaru is dependent marking with nominal agents marked being morphologically marked in the Ergative case, while direct objects and intransitive subjects take the Absolutive case (and are unmarked morphologically). The language has complex predicates consisting of an inflecting verb and an uninflecting coverb. The language has waned substantially in recent decades as most Jaru children acquire the Kimberley variety of Kriol. In Yaruman children appear to be acquiring a mixture of the traditional language and Kriol.