Not looking phonologically but grammatically, what are the languages which would be a good reference point for starting studies in Australian Aboriginal languages? Western Desert Language? Others? Are they considered language isolates like the many isolates in the Latin American languages?

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    Some of the northern Australian languages are isolates, but most are part of the Pama-Nyungan family.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 15 '20 at 14:02
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    As to typology, this book is probably the best place to start: cambridge.org/au/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/…
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 15 '20 at 14:04
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    Australia and New Guinea are both unique linguistic areas. They were settled over 50,000 years ago and contrast vastly. New Guinea has many hundreds of languages that are difficult to organize into historical families, whereas Australia has a smaller number of languages that nevertheless mostly seem to belong to one distinct family, called Pama-Nyungan. Since the comparative method can only go back around 8000 years at most, this means there was a sweeping change in Australian languages continent-wide not long ago. We have no idea what.
    – jlawler
    Jan 15 '20 at 16:57
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    @curiousdannii the WDL (Western Desert Language) does cover a huge area and the many varieties are similar enough that its spread is generally estimated to have been within the last 1000 or so years, maybe the last 500. To the OP, yes WDL is a great language to start with as it's very representative of the Pama-Nyungan family, there are a number grammars and dictionaries as well as technical works. But Warlpiri might be even better as it is perhaps the most studied Australian language and there is plenty to read. Jan 16 '20 at 2:06
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    I would add that if you are really keen to get an understanding of Australian languages you should also study a non-Pama-Nyungan language. There is a good overview, "The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: comparative studies of the continent′s most linguistically complex region", by Nicholas Evans, or you could look at one of the grammars, eg Evans, N. 1995. "A grammar of Kayardild : with historical-comparative notes on Tangkic". Mouton de Gruyter. Jan 16 '20 at 2:13

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