|Ethnicity||Mulluk-Mulluk, Ngolokwangga, Djerait|
|10 Malak-Malak (2016 census)|
5 Tyeraity (2005)
Malak-Malak (also spelt Mullukmulluk, Malagmalag, Malak-Malak), also known as Ngolak-Wonga (Nguluwongga), is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Mulluk-Mulluk people. Malakmalak is nearly extinct, with children growing up speaking Kriol or English instead. The language is spoken in the Daly River area around Woolianna and Nauiyu. The Kuwema or Tyaraity (Tyeraty) variety is distinct.
Malakmalak has sometimes been classified in a Northern Daly family along with an "Anson Bay" group of Wagaydy (Patjtjamalh, Wadjiginy, Kandjerramalh) and the unattested Giyug. Green concluded that Wagaydy and Malakmalak were two separate language families. Later researchers have linked them, and this is reflected in Bowern (2011). However, the Wagaydy people are recent arrivals in the area, and their language may only similar due to borrowing. AIATSIS and Glottolog treats Wagaydy as an isolate and Giyug as unclassifiable.
|Close||i||ɨ||ɯ / u|
MalakMalak, is an ergative-absolutive language with constituent order mainly determined by information structure and prosody, but syntactically free. Marking of core-cases is optional. The language is mostly dependent-marking (1), but also has no marking (2) and head-marking features (2).
(1) dependent-marking: possession
"I tripped on the little stick"
(3) head-marking: noun-adposition
"he sits down underneath the water"
MalakMalak's verb phrase uses complex predicates. These consist of an inflecting verb that has properties of person, number and tense. MalakMalak only has six such verbs. In example (4), yuyu and vida are inflecting verbs. Additionally, there are coverbs which have aspectual properties, but do not inflect for number, tense or person. They occur with inflecting verbs. They are unlimited in number and new verbs are also borrowed into this class. In (4), kubuk-karrarr, dat-tyed, and ka are coverbs. They can also form serial verbs (kubuk-karrarr, dat-tyed).
(4) Complex Predicates and Serial Coverbs
"he crossed the river and looked once, then he came here"
MalakMalak employs all three "classic" types of spatial Frames of Reference: intrinsic, relative and absolute. Additionally, the language uses place names and body-part orientation to talk about space. The intrinsic Frame requires some kind of portioning of the ground object or landmark into named facets from which search domains can be projected. In English this would be, for example, the tree is in front of the man. And in MalakMalak it would be (5).
(5) intrinsic Frame of Reference
"the tree was behind (the man)"
The relative Frame of Reference involves mapping from the observer's own axes (front, back, left, right) onto the ground object. An English example is the ball is on the right. In MalakMalak it would be (6)
(6) relative Frame of Reference
"now the ball was on the right, jumping up (lit. jumping in an upward place on the right)"
The absolute Frame of Reference requires xed bearings that are instantly available to all members of the community. An English example is the opera is west of here. In MalakMalak, three different types of absolute frames can be used. Those based on the course of the sun (east/west) (7a), on prevailing winds (northwesterly/southeasterly) (7b), and on two sides of the prominent Daly River (northeastern/southwestern bank) (7c).
(7a) absolute Frame of Reference (sun)
"this one is west and this one is east"
(7b) absolute Frame of Reference (wind)
"one is facing the river and the other one is facing northwest"
(7c) absolute Frame of Reference (riverbank)
"it is underneath, on the northeastern bank's side, of the chair"