April 26, 2005

First Alawa class of 2005

Well, it was Friday morning at Hodgson Downs and I was organised. How did that happen? I didn’t really have anything more to prepare and no urgent last minute jobs so I waited to smoko and picked up old Cleo, old Stephen and old August to go and teach the high school kids some Alawa.

The class went really well. Or as good as can be hoped when your audience is a bunch of teenagers, most of them sulky teenagers. The best part of the lesson was that old Stephen really was the main teacher. I was merely his assistant. Often, it’s the munanga – me – who ends up taking the leading role because the speakers can be a bit tentative about taking the leading role, but not today. Stephen and the others spoke Alawa, and I wrote down what they were saying. Stephen and the others made the kids speak up and repeat after them and I just pointed to the words on the board. Eventually, it was Stephen who was up at the board pointing to the words and making the kids say it. If only the kids had’ve made the most of it, because the lesson worked pretty well.

The hot topic around Hodgson Downs today was the first game of the football season. The Nurralindji Tigers were playing in Katherine tonight against the Arnhem Crows. I was off to town too, for a bit of R & R and to swap vehicles, so I headed off to the football too. I got to town and went to the footy with another linguist, J, and his wife, C. They are from America, so I got to explain the rules of AFL to them. We also ran into old Stephen and old August there and had a chat. Well, the tigers lost, but played well. After that, I went to R and J’s camp and went to sleep early. What a treat!

Here’s some Alawa from today’s lesson:

Nanjal yemberli? (What are you doing?)
Wulaguli jirr-ngeni (Nothing, I’m standing.)

Nanjal wurrberli? (What are you two doing?)
Wulaguli jirr-ngurreni (Nothing, Us two are standing.)

Nanjal wulberli? (What are you mob doing?)
Wulaguli jirr-nguleni (Nothing, we’re standing.)

Crikey, I still can’t believe the number of languages I have to work with.

No comments: