Earliest reference to language name: 1840 (Robinson Journal)
Clark (1993) lists nine variants of the name Waywurru. Blake and Reid (1999) have presented the most detailed analysis of the language materials relevant to this area. The resolution of this report is to consider Waywurru a language name (see Bowe 2002: 143), Minjambuta to be a probable dialect name, and Pallanganmiddang to be a clan name and possibly an alternative language name.
‘Minubuddong’ is only found in the 1844 vocabulary papers of Robinson (Clark 2000g: 187) and the label ‘Minjambuta’ is only found in the writing of RH Mathews (1909). Lexicostatistical analysis by Blake and Reid (1999) of the vocabulary ascribed to this language has shown that when it is compared to neighbouring languages the scores are very low. For example, with the Yortayorta it is 12 per cent, and 15 per cent with the Dhudhuroa. Clearly, then, this vocabulary is not a dialect of Dhudhuroa or Yortayorta.
Primary references range from 1840 to 1904 (Robinson passim; Smyth 1878; Curr 1886; Howitt 1904). Variant names take two forms: one that uses the Kulin suffix –yallum/-illum, and the other the non-Kulin equivalent –mittung/- middang. This does not imply the existence of two groups rather that from a Kulin point of view these people are Pallangoyallum, whereas from their own point of view they are Pallanganmiddang. The other fact that confirms that these variants refer to the same group is the reason that they refer to the same named individuals and are all associated with the same location:
Bontherambo Plains, Wangaratta. The unity of this group is supported by Barwick (1984), Clark (1993), Blake and Reid (1999: 16), and Bowe (2002:136). Howitt (1904: 71) identified this group as part of the Kulin confederacy. Barwick (1984, Mss) and Clark (1993, 1996a, b) have reconstructed Pallanganmiddang as a local group (clan) within the Waywurru language area. Yet, Dixon (1980; 2002), and Blake and Reid (1999) have determined Pallanganmiddang to be a language name, despite the weight of the primary references that indicates that Pallanganmiddang is a clan name.
Blake’s and Reid’s (1999) analysis of the linguistic records is that they are meagre: 341 words are sourced from Robinson; 46 in Smyth (1878) 109 in Curr (1886-7); and 63 in Murdock (1900). Their lexicostatistic examination of these sources has revealed that these words share only 25 per cent comparison with the Yortayorta, 21 per cent with Dhudhuroa, and 16 per cent with Wiradjuri, thus their conclusion that ‘it seems likely therefore that Pallanganmiddang represents a language quite distinct from those of its neighbours (Blake & Reid 1999: 17). This conclusion reached by modern linguistic analysis is supported by Curr (1965: 246-7) who recalled that ‘the Bangerang-speaking septs’ were ‘surrounded by a number of tribes which looked on them as foreigners, and hated them in common; spoke a different language from theirs’. It is also supported by Robinson’s 1844 reference that these peoples’ language was different to Wiradjuri. These 341 words belong to a language completely different to the languages surrounding it.
This name is found in three distinct sources: the journal of Chief Protector Robinson (1840, 1841, 1842, 1844); evidence tendered by local squatter Benjamin Barber (1841); and in the correspondence and returns from Local Guardian David Reid at Barnawatha (Victoria 1860, 1861). The linguistic analysis of the vocabularies recorded at Wangaratta and Yackandandah has shown that they are not comparable to Yortayorta (see Blake and Reid 1999).