Thura-Yura languages

Last updated

South Australia
Linguistic classification Pama–Nyungan
  • Arandic–Thura-Yura
    • Yura
  • Yura proper
  • Kadli
  • Wirangu
Glottolog thur1253
Yura languages.png
Thura-Yura languages (green) among other Pama–Nyungan (tan). The two groups are Nangga (west) and Yura–Kadli (east)

The Yura or Thura-Yura languages are a group of Australian Aboriginal languages surrounding Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent in South Australia, that comprise a genetic language family of the Pama–Nyungan family.



The name Yura comes from the word for "person" in the northern languages; this is a lenited form of the thura found in other languages, hence Thura-Yura. Similar words for "person" are found in languages outside the group, however (for example 'yura' - 'person' in the Sydney language). [1]


The following classification is proposed by Bowern & Koch (2004): [2]

A Nukunu speaker reported that the Nukunu could understand Barngarla and Kuyani, but not more distant varieties. [2]

Peramangk may have been a southern Thura-Yura language, close to Kaurna.

Dixon (2002) lists a Nantuwara language, but there is no data for it.


Reconstruction ofThura-Yura languages

Reconstructed Thura-Yura vocabulary by Simpson and Hercus (2004): [3]

Spelling conventions
glossProto-Thura-YuraProto-Core Thura-YuraNorthern Thura-YuraSouthern Thura-Yura
allwapu; kurru
all, many, big*marna
ashes (charcoal)piirla
bad (without)*wakV-Na
bark ?*yulti
beard, cheek, hair*maLTa
belly (abdomen) ?*TiDLi
blood ?*kaaṟu; *karti
body: muscle, sinew*THiltya*thiltya
camp (house)*warDli
camp (house, ?from “join”)*karrpa*karrpa
camp (hut)karnku
child, babywa(L)kuwa(L)ku
child, small*kityayakaCV; waNi
child, voice of infant*kunga
cloud (low, fog)*putyi
cold (cough)*kuLTV-
cold, frost*pakaDla
cold (in head)(y)urrkV-
cold (weather)*paya-; *mVnyV*manyapayala (Probably derived from “to bite”)
come here!*paNi; *ka*kawayi
dog*wiLkawiLka (domestic dog)kadli (domestic dog)
down, below ?*warta-wartathi
dry, dust*puthV-RV
far (stranger)yampa
feather ?*paDLu
fly (big fly)*thumpV-Ca*thupV(-Ra)
hair, feather*puthi
knee ?*puṟV*mampapuṟa
knee (kneecap)*maTa
liver*Tangkathangka; ngaLTi
man (boy after circumcision)pardnaapa
man (companion)*Nipu
man (grown-up)*miṟu (grownup man)
man (husband)marni
man (initiand) ?*wilya-ṟu ?*ngulta
man (male, husband)*yarDli
man (person) ?*Tuṟa*thuṟa
meat, flesh, heart*puLTHA*puLTHa*pultha
mouth, lipNimi
nape, neckngurnti, nhurnti; wakarra
night, yesterday*wiltya
north wind, hot weather*pukarra
north-east windngarnarakarnaRa
not, do not*madLamardla; kuta
now, again ?*nhaTa
now, morning ?*panyi
now, soonyatha
old man*puLka
other, another, the rest*kutyu
pigface, plant food type (? Carpobrotus_rossii sp.) ?*kaCkaLa*karrkaLa
red ?*TVLTV-*TaLTHa-thaltha-
red ochre*miLTi; *karrku
rib, side, flank*pantyi
road ?*Tapa*Tapathapa
rotten, bad-smelling ?*puka*thungkV
shit, faeces*kuDna*kudna
shoulder, wing*wiṟi
sick, ill ?*ngaNDa-N
sick, wound*mingka
skin ?*paLpapiyipaLpa
skin, clothes*palhtha
sky, cloud and dust ?*wirra
smoke (stuff for producing smoke) ?*Tumpu
snake ?*TuDNuwapma
snake, carpet snakemuDLV-
south and south wind*parrpa
southerly wind*walypiwaitpi
spear (large)*wiNTawirnta
spear (small)*kVya*kaya
spit*THaDlhi*THadlhingapalya; ngalytya
stone, adzeTHurdla
stone, cooking stone ?*kaDnya
stone, hill, grinding stone, kneecap*puRi
stone, limestone*parnta
stone, quartz-like stone, ice*makV
that (near)*pa-*pa-pa-nha
that (remote)*ngu-ngunha
thigh, flank, groin ?*paLTi
this (nearest)*iNHa
to bite*paya-
to burn tr.*kampa-
to burn intr.*ngaDLi-
to climb ?*warnta-
to come ?*puDNa-
to cry, call*kaLTa-
to cry, tears*muLka
to cry, to scream*ngaTV-
to cut ?*waNi-
to die*paDLu-thinta-; padlu-
to die, dead*kuDnyukupa
to dig*paNi-; ?*paka-pani-
to drink, to kiss, to manipulate with mouth*THapa-*Tapa-thapa-
to eat*ngaLku-
to enter*ngaLpa-
to fall*warDni-
to get*manku-
to get, pick up, lead, bring*kaNka-*kangka-
to get, take away*mama-
to give*yungkV-nhungku-
to go ?*wiNV-nguka-
to go, walk ?*padNV-
to hear*yuri- See “ear”.
to hit with hand*paLTa-
to hit with missile*nguṟV-nguṟa-
to hit, cause break in material integrity*pungku-
to hit, kill*kuNTa-kurnta-
to know, see*THiLka-*thiLka-
to leave it*wVNTV-*waNTa-wanthV-
to lie down*waNTi-wanti-
to put, to get used toila-
to see*nhaku-
to sit*Tika-thika-
to sleep, asleep*miya
to speak*wangka-
to spearwiTi-
to stand*yuwa-
to throw*paTV-patha-
to tie, support, build ?*karrpV-karrpV-
tomorrow ?*TarrkV-
tree*wadLa; *wirawardla
two*puLapuDla; kalypilVpurla
up, above ?*kaNkakanka
up, above, high*karra
urine, piss*kumpu
warm (weather)*warlta
water*kawi; *kapi
what (how many)*-miNV[-]minha
what?*Na-, ?*Nawi
where? ?*wa-THa*wa-(nha)
who? (Ergative, Instrumental)*ngaNTu
who? (Nominative)*ngaNa*ngaNa
who? (Possessive)*ngaNku
woman, girl*mankarra
woman, mother, female*ngamV-THV
woman, wife*kartu
yam, edible root, plant food type*ngampa
young onepapa

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  1. Macquarie Dictionary Aboriginal Words, 1994; p. 66
  2. 1 2 Bowern & Koch (2004) Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method
  3. Simpson, Jane and Luise Hercus. 2004. Thura-Yura as a Subgroup. In Claire Bowern and Harold Koch (eds.), Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method, 179-206, 580-645. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.