Ancestral Merranunggu (also Maranungku) country lies in the central north of the Daly region hinterland, bordered on the south by Marrithiyel, on the east by Matngele, and on the north and east by Northern Daly varieties. To its west, along the coast, are located its sister dialects, Emmi and Menthe.
Merranunggu is no longer spoken, and our knowledge of it derives primarily from Tryon (1970), supplemented by the work of Green (on this website), as well as language education materials developed by Linda Ford and Kathy Deveraux for the Makmak Marranungku Association.
Merranunggu belongs to the Western Daly group, and shares a substantial portion of its vocabulary as well as major grammatical features, most particularly its verb components and structures, with the other Western Daly group members - Marrithiyel, Marri Ngarr and Marramaninjsji – to the south. Some other features of Merranunggu, for example, aspects of its sound system and set of pronouns, are more in alignment with its eastern and northern neighbours, and might well be the result of long term language contact with them.
Indeed, Merranunggu people now own and occupy sites to the north of the Daly, in the western Finniss River region, having relocated there relatively recently. Merranunggu elders have suggested that this relocation was facilitated by the long historical connections between the Merranunggu and their northern neighbours.
To learn more about Merranunggu, please see Ian Green's initial sketch grammar of the language, together with his original field notes, available here as a pdf: Green, Ian 2016, ‘Merranungu’, The Languages of the Daly, http://www.dalylanguages.org/view_language.php?id=17
Ian Green’s corpus of Merranunggu consists of 10 hours of recordings, including some texts and grammatical elicitation.
The recordings were made with the following speakers: