May 16, 2009

nga-rlindiyi na-mbarnduwa-yurr

(Marra - I'm going to Mparntwe (Alice Springs))

I'm off to Alice tomorrow for another week of teaching. It'll be freezing!! Yikes.

I like Alice though. I love that you hear people talking language all the time, everywhere, unselfconsciously. Because I've worked on very endangered languages for so long, my instinct is to stick a recording device in front of their face before valuable data gets lost into the ether, but then I realise that there's no need to do that with languages that are still viable. (viable, yet still virtually ignored by wider society).

Even though I'm enjoying my work, I've been missing Ngukurr and working out bush in general more and more lately. I think I'm over the burnout I was feeling two years ago and now I'm just feeling rather displaced from knowing how communities work and remembering what's important to people living in communities. I've become another whitefella who flies in and out (so-to-speak), hoping that what I do has some impact, but really not knowing if that's the case. What's worse, is that I think I've forgotten *how* to work out bush. I'm too comfy watching Austar and playing sport twice a week and sleeping in our new king size bed and cruising around Katherine on a scooter - I've forgotten that I can actually give all this up and reap alternative benefits by spending time in communities with some of the wonderful people that live there.

I think in the mid-semester break, I might try and do a bit of a tour of the region for two weeks - catching up with students in a low-pressure environment and hopefully getting a few more people interested in doing language courses. :-)

Oh, and a functioning language centre to support my students would be a big help too.

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