February 27, 2009

Wurrpparn wurrpparn

Here's the Rembarrnga version of Baa Baa Black Sheep that my students made this week in class:

Wurrpparn wurrpparn
Da-noettoe garlang-na?
Woh woh woh woh gurlppurr jerrh ga-jubul
Wangginy nyarran-nawoe-gan
Wangginy ngalan-nawoe-gan
Wangginy bori ganyangh-gan ga-nura Wugularr

hehe... neat!

The direct translation:

Emu, emu,
Do you have eggs?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, three dillybags full.
One for it's father
One for it's mother
One for it's little boy who lives at Beswick

February 15, 2009

news from me!

Well it's been a while since I posted about me and what's been going on. And as per usual, there's always a lot going on...

I had the best, most rejuvenating, coolest week at work last week. I was lecturing first-year linguistics students at Batchelor while in neighbouring classrooms the second and third years were also deeply involved in their linguistics studies. It is just so fantastic to be around a great group of people who are all determined and passionate about their language. And such a diverse bunch - from every part of Australia, young and old, experienced and new (in terms of doing language work), fluent speakers and those trying to get their language back. But the link between them all is the passion for their own language which is really inspiring considering considering how tough it can be for Indigenous languages in this country.

So now I'm back in Katherine and procrastinating. I'm supposed to be writing a funding submission and an article for a journal. The first one is for an exciting project but unfortunately writing funding submissions is always a chore. The second job (the article) is pretty cool - I'm writing about language revitalisation at Ngukurr. I've found it really quite challenging because I haven't done anything remotely like academic writing since University which is a long time ago now! It's such a slow process when you actually have to do some research and not just say what you think. Phew.

Speaking of language revitalisation at Ngukurr - my article is not going to be like the one being delivered at an international conference that doesn't have anything good to say about the language program me and the Ngukurr language workers ran at Ngukurr school for 3 years.... but that's another story and probably one i shouldn't air on here...

The wet season is in full swing in Katherine which means the heat is off and the rain is on and the weeds are growing and so is the mould in my house. Waaaah! I think I'll just employ a full-time gardener and cleaner so that I can procrastinate with less guilt.

But all in all, life's good, work's good and I have no complaints. I saw a movie called Young@Heart last night which was wonderful. Team that up with a movie called 'Happy-go-lucky' and I'll never complain again. Those movies are good medicine.

February 04, 2009

Newsflash! Marion Scrymgour removed as NT Education Minister

I just heard that Marion Scrymgour, who's been causing me and others grief with bad education policies has been removed and replaced by Paul Henderson. (see here).

Hopefully this is good news for bilingual education, for Indigenous language education and for remote education in general. Marion was obviously concerned about these things, but never seemed to do her research (or just got bad advice) and her policies of late were misguided and ill-informed. Fingers crossed for positive change.

Now I just hope that others who are in a position of power in a certain local organisation are next in line to be removed. Their actions aren't doing anyone any good at all.

February 03, 2009

Quote from 1825

Here's my favourite quote for today:

"Perhaps the Aborigines think that there is an innate deficiency in the bulk of white men's skulls which prevents their attainment of the native language."

- Lancelot Threlkeld, 1825, rebutting a French anthropologist who 'confirmed' the 'innate deficiency' of Aboriginal people based on head measurements. (Quoted in Harris, John (1990) One Blood - 200 years of Aboriginal encounter with Christianity: A story of hope).