May 04, 2005

four day weeks aren't that great

You’d think I’d be happy to have two short weeks in a row, but really it just means I’ve got four days to do all our work in instead of five.

Tuesday was interesting and lot of things happened. I had a run-in with the woman from Batchelor, talked to someone from Education Department about all the good work we’re doing at no cost to the Education Department, digitised some audio, helped Baba G start to transcribe some Marra, drew six large women on cardboard for tomorrow’s body parts lesson, a new worker started at the language centre, talked to Baba A about working on Nunggubuyu and started sorting out the Ngandi course being run here next week. And I finally got some printer ink cartridges after having no ink for two weeks!! hurrah.

I won’t go into more detail. The only other thing I did was go on a bike ride to the airstrip and come back all sweaty.

Today (Wednesday) is language classes at Ngukurr school. We’re still doing stinking body parts. Actually, it’s not a bad thing because it means we don’t have too much preparation to do but it also means the kids are learning very slowly which is a bummer. Anyway, classes went well today. We had four out of five languages being taught. Only the Nunggubuyu kids missed out. I don’t know what’s wrong with all the Nunggubuyu people… we’ll have to put a sign up at the shop to try and shame them into action. hehe.

I sat with my mari T today, who is the only Ritharrngu teacher. Poor thing, he’s there on his own. But he’s doing fine and luckily there aren’t too many Ritharrngu kids so he’s got a manageable group.

Actually, I noticed an interesting thing today when we doing lesson preparation. Most of the people doing language work here are men! It’s just about always been the case that language work is more a women’s thing, but not here. I know that people here are more comfortable working with someone of the same sex so obviously I’m gonna tend to work with the men. But there’s so many more women linguists than there are men linguists so that means historically it’s usually women doing language work. But today there was only my two mami, R and N and the other were all men: Baba G, mari T, wawa A, uncle E and JBJ was helping out too. I’m glad that were spoiling the myth that language work is typically women’s work.

Well back to my mari T’s Ritharrngu lesson. This is what he was teaching the kids today: liya (head), buthuru (ear), ngurru (nose), miil (eye), dhaa (mouth), jarrwalk (shoulder), gurrpala (knee), lukku (foot) and guung (hand). Nice work mari.


Bulanjan said...

I dunno if women did language work *because* of female linguists... might be a longish bow to draw. Glad you're getting some of the blokes involved. I worked with a few men, though predominently women. Are you working with any women? I think you mention older women at Minyerri?

Wamut said...

hello bulanjan!

yeah, i am still working with women, although at minyerri i'm working mostly with two men. a lot of women seem to be involved in a lot of fighting at the moment.

and i don't wanna start drawing any kinds of bows but just that i got a shock when we were giving language worker training to a bunch of people the other day and they were all men. i don't reckon that's the norm.

nangari said...

hi yutubala!

yeah i have to agree with bulanjan. i also don't think that it is the case that there have been more female linguists around. maybe at language centre but not in academic institutions. i imagine a few of the men you are working with have worked a bit with heath and baker and many others. not sure who has written the grammars in those areas.

were there the same no. of men working in the classroom with the previous female linguists?

Wamut said...

oh dear, i should've known better than to mention anything about gender roles n stuff with you two around!