June 13, 2007

Pidgin and creoles workshop

Last week we had a big week in town (Katherine). We had two days with Batchelor and then three days with the Education Department for a Language Revitalisation Workshop.

One of the highlights was working with Batchelor's linguistics students. They were in Katherine for a week-long workshop on Pidgins and Creoles. Their lecturer approached us to present something about the creole spoken at Ngukurr so we did a three hour session with them which was enjoyed by everyone.

Usmob really enjoyed meeting the linguistics students and finding out where they’re from. They came from all over: Torres Strait, Desert, Western NSW, Victoria, Palm Island and came from different backgrounds (but all Indigenous). And they really enjoyed meeting the guys from Ngukurr and learning a bit about Kriol. It was just one of those lovely sharing experiences, but also included lots of discussion, opining and more.

I was reflecting on why I enjoyed the session with them so much. One reason was that being linguistics students, I could use linguistics terms and be understood. Normally, I have to explain what a pronoun is, let alone more tricky things like the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb – but these guys knew it straight away which was lovely.

But it wasn’t til later that night I realised the main reason I enjoyed working with that mob. Because they’re linguists (or learning to be linguists) whose goal is the same as ours here at Ngukurr: the betterment of Indigenous languages and people. And it was comforting and refreshing. It was just so nice to be teaching like-minded people! And they warmed my heart to see what they’re learning and doing. I wish them all the best.

1 comment:

Curaezipirid said...

Hi, and Salam alaikum

My name is Rebecca Copas nungarrayi, and I am from Armidale NSW, now living in Brisbane.

I have had my head down for a few too many years maybe, and am neither actually ever qualified in linguistics/anthropology/community education, or any of the other study fields I began when my children were babies. However, I have an unusual background set of experiences which are alike to the sort of experiences obtained by field work for a thesis. And I am a writer, or rather have been writing a lot so decided recently that it is about time to work towards being published.

Now, I have had an idea, which I want to run past a linguist in the field. If I get any money from publishing my writing, I have committed to providing parts of the profits towards indigenous literacy.

I have a few well founded and consolidated beliefs about why literacy in English language is an obstacle. So I had the idea of beginning a sort of journal, a bit like to an academic journal, but from outside the field of academia. Maybe a quarterly, or an as often as it can be managed type of rag for yarns about language, but all made from within indigenous perspectives on the value of talk and what is reasonable of language to expect being made records of.

My own background is having been raised totally white mainstream; but after being present at Corroboree at Kurnell in; then some more story of bits of myself; and then finding an allegorical teaching from inside Islam which blasts to pieces all of Euro-centric culture; I now find that all my language forms are fully alike to indigenous.

So the idea is born with my own frustration in the world of wanting to be published as a writer, because I reckon my story can contribute to social worth for everybody. I reckon that contribution is partly about why we should be allowed non-standard grammar forms in print, as an acceptable new standard for this country, and that is the inseminating ideal for the idea of the journal.

I wonder if you want to express any interest in the idea?

Find me through 'curaezipirid' at blogger, or 'anungarrayididitdotcopas' at wordpress.

Salam, or is that Waram