Giimbiyu language

Giimbiyu is an extinct Aboriginal Australian language isolate once spoken by the Giimbiyu people of northern Australia.

Native toAustralia
RegionNorthern Territory
Extinct(date unknown perhaps a couple speakers remaining in 1981)[1]
Language isolate or Arnhem Land?
  • Giimbiyu
  • Mangerr
  • Erri
  • Urningangga
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
zme  Mangerr
urc  Urningangg
err  Erre
Giimbiyu (purple), among other non-Pama-Nyungan languages (grey)

The name Giimbiyu is a Gaagudju word for 'of the stoney country'. It was introduced in Harvey (1992) as a cover term for the named dialects,[3]

  • Mangerr (Mengerrdji)
  • Urningangga (Wuningak) and Erri (Arri)

In 1997 Nicholas Evans proposed an Arnhem Land family that includes the Giimbiyu languages. However, they are not included in Bowern (2011).[4]


  1. Mangerr at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
    Urningangg at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
    Erre at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Giimbiyu". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. N220 Giimbiyu at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. Bowern, Claire. 2011. "How Many Languages Were Spoken in Australia?", Anggarrgoon: Australian languages on the web, December 23, 2011 (corrected February 6, 2012)
  • McConvell, Patrick and Nicholas Evans. (eds.) 1997. Archaeology and Linguistics: Global Perspectives on Ancient Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
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