July 31, 2007

Gabmen mob kaman tumorra

The government survey mob is coming tomorrow. Woo-hoo. Or as they say in Marra, jawayiga! (Although I'm not sure how well my sarcasm translates into Marra.)

July 27, 2007

here i am

so slow with posting... sorry. so much happens and i have so much to share but so much of what happens is going by unblogged.

also, the politics (intervention etc.) is getting me down and is so overwhelming that i just don't know where to start blogging about it.

but i've had pretty good week at work. most of it has been out bush seeing places that i haven't seen before. Tuesday was a day trip to Walgundu with is a special site with rock art n lots of stories n history. The highlight was hanging out with some Alawa speakers that I used work with quite a bit and finally doing a bit of language work on Alawa again. Wednesday was in the office and the CDEP team worked so well - they're such a good team at the moment. But they're the ones pushing me to work! They made a gazillion flashcards for teaching and then we got through a fair bit of a Kriol translation job we're doing. Which is tiring but definitely not a bad thing! And Thursday/Friday was an overnight bush trip to Nyanyalindi as part of a school excursion for the high school kids. The mob I took were great company and we saw lots of country that I hadn't been to before and I helped (well, mostly watched) AP make spears and they had a bit of bunggul for the kids at night and I had fresh bream for lunch straight out of the fire. Tired but satisfied. :-)

July 06, 2007

Politics and getting on with it

I've found all the politics stuff that's been in the news lately really full on. I've been thinking about it lots and have had lots to say, but then at the same time, I don't quite know what to say and don't quite know what to think. Generally though, I find it pretty scary what the government is doing - and I think the fear comes about from the poor communication - when no one can tell you or knows what's happening, you can't really reassure yourself that everything's okay. One thing I can say though, is that the government's actions definitely have political motivations - no one can convince me otherwise of that.

I was a bit depressed about it all a week or so ago, but I sorta came to the conclusion that I'll just get on with what we're trying to do here and then the proof (of our worth) will be in the pudding.

And have we been doing some good work or what? The 4 ppl working with me on CDEP are doing really well at the moment and are a good little team. The highlight being AJ and AD learning how to digitise old recordings from cassette onto the computer. So now we have 19 short Marra texts that are 33 years old digitised and can now be burned off as audio CDs. Even better is that I've shown AD, AJ and JJ how to update the written versions of the texts into the current Marra orthography so now we have these old recording that were sitting there not doing much now coming to life - on CD and printed off in a much more readable format. So cool.

You know, when I started working in communities, I was probably no different from most linguists when they start off. Fieldwork seemed to be about documenting language from an old person and the function of community members was little more than providing oral language - all the recording, writing, analysis was then done by the munanga linguist. But what I love about my work at the moment is that the guys I work with are doing more and more of everything - transcribing, typing up stuff, uploading sound files, recording, creating materials etc. One of my 'dreams' I wrote down at the start of the year is that I wanted my role to be more of that of 'coach' (someone who trains and directs) rather than 'player' (the person doing all the footwork)... and we seem to be slowly getting there.

Good work guys!