July 21, 2013

Today's trivia! Or, will anyone care about my PhD research?

Somehow I dug myself out of a mini PhD-writing slump this week and finally tabulated the last results of some research I did at Ngukurr a couple of months ago where I interviewed 14 young Kriol speakers about bush medicine and also a bit about lizards.

The people I interviewed taught me lots of interesting stuff, but analysing what they told me is doing my head in. I've basically been writing about the same stuff for six months and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of my thesis in general. I mean, I'm still *kind of* interested in what I'm doing and learning but I'm at the stage where I've flogged the topics I'm focusing on to death so much so that I barely care anymore and I just can't see how anyone else might care. (Yes, I'm at *that* stage. It's known as the Valley Of Shit).

What I will look like if I have to write
about lizards for much longer
But here's your chance to restore some faith that what I'm devoting all my time to might actually interest someone. A trivia question! Part of my thesis discusses the taxonomic knowledge of lizards that Marra speakers have and compares that with what Kriol speakers know, and I've just finished analysing data that ranks the 10 most salient types of lizard to young Kriol speakers in Ngukurr. So can you guess:
Q: What is the most salient type of lizard among young Kriol speaking people in Ngukurr? (based on a survey of 14 people aged 22-35)
So please: have a go at answering in the comments. If you don't, I will cry. The first correct answer will restore a skerrick of faith that my PhD thesis won't be a total waste of time/piece of crap! And I'll shout you a drink when I see you next!

17 comments:

bulanjdjan maรฏa said...

but wait a minute, if we knew the answer, that would precisely make your thesis less important right? you want to tell us what is important to Kriol speakers?
anyway, I'd say gecko, but is it considered a lizard?

nginarra said...

Maia thanks for commenting! I'm cheered up already. :-)

And gecko is indeed considered a lizard but it was only the 8th most salient lizard among the guys I interviewed. Nice try though! :-)

bulanjdjan maรฏa said...

well, the good thing for you is: I DON'T KNOW! and in fact my knowledge of lizards and their names in Dalabon or Kriol is close to nil. Sarah must know better. I want to hear!

John Mansfield said...

goanna: must be goanna, because it's the most edible

nginarra said...

Oo another answer! Again nice try but goanna was the 5th most salient lizard. They haven't been seen for years around Ngukurr thanks to the thousands of Mr and Mrs Bufo marinus that invaded from Qld :-(

Rebecca said...

Well, if it's not gecko or goanna (both of which I also thought of, both - or rather various species of goanna - being very salient in Maningrida though I haven't actually measured salience!!!), how about the ta-ta lizard? the small dragon lizard with the white stripe that waves its foot when it stops? Although, actually, your picture is making me think it's going to be a cartoon character of superhero, not an actual lizard .... hmmm ....

Dorothea said...

How about a monitor (water monitor kind stuff) - since this is one the roper and maybe these swimming monitors are the most frequently seen?

nginarra said...

Doro! You guys are cheering me up no end. Do you mean water goanna? Only one person listed water goanna. It was almost forgotten about entirely :-(

Brett Baker said...

Maitbi dat frilnek lized?

nginarra said...

Ding ding ding! Yu rait ja Brett!! :-) Well done.

Now if you want bonus points, can you give the name its more commonly known by in Roper Kriol??

You guys have really brightened my day. Thank you.

Brett Baker said...

blenkit lized intit?

nginarra said...

Yuwai than na! (Bat ai raidim 'blenggid lisid') :-)

Tu kleba, yu.

Lauren said...

I wouldn't have been able to guess... I probably would have said something embarrassingly vague like 'green lizards'.

Erika Charola said...

What about the tata lizard? and how is the waving expressed - is it similar in Marra & Kriol. Please tell me Greg - I WANT TO KNOW!! :-) (I really do actually)

nginarra said...

Oh yes the ta-ta lizard. That's an interesting one actually. It was #4 on the salience list but that may not be accurate - a few of the young people told me that it has a Kriol name that is a bit rude and noone wanted to say it on tape. So I think a few people avoided or delayed listing it while they thought of a more appropriate name to use so it may be further down the salience list than it should be.

The names they did use for the lizard was often 'gabai lisid' where 'gabai' is a verb that means 'to wave' or more specifically refers to the beckoning gesture (that looks like waving to munanga/kartiya). But a couple did use the Marra name for it: garn.gulugulu.

Lydia said...

Hi there! Just wondering what your methods for collecting data on taxanomic saliency were. I'm planning on doing some similar kind of work regarding plant knowledge and would love to hear how others are doing it.
Cheers,
Lydia

nginarra said...

Hi Lydia. Happy to explain and share an article I used on the topic with you. Email me at munanga at bigpond dot com and i'll send you some info.