August 01, 2019

Pop culture as linguistic data, social justice in linguistics, Aboriginal English and the semantics of 'grab'

I was pleased with myself that I got to take a bunch of things I like and wrap them up in a single section of academic writing I was working on the other day: pop culture as linguistic data, social justice in linguistics, Aboriginal English and the semantics of 'grab'. I was particularly pleased with the bit that I wrote so I thought I'd share it. (Let's see what happens when I get feedback on my work though!):
In some cases, differences in semantic ranges [between Aboriginal English varieties and how white people talk] can have serious consequences. Across Englishes, the verb ‘grab’ can have more physical, forceful meanings (‘grab someone by the collar’) as well as senses that are synonymous with ‘obtain’ (‘grab some lunch’). Aboriginal people appear to use ‘obtain’ senses more widely, as in (9) - another quote from Bran Nue Dae’s Uncle Tadpole (Kershaw, Isaac & Perkins 2009). The context of (9) is Uncle Tadpole telling his nephew to pursue his crush but is not suggesting the use of physical force. 

(9) Ay you been find ‘im. You wanna get up there an’ grab ‘im. 

Eades (2012) details a controversial courtcase referred to as the ‘Pinkenba Six’ in which six police officers were charged with ‘depravation of liberty’ of three Aboriginal teenagers. One of the boys in an interview with lawyers had said that police had ‘grabbed the three of us’ but in court said they were ‘told to get into police cars’. This became an “inconsistency” in cross-examination, weakening the Aboriginal teenagers prosecution case after defence counsel pursued the matter enough to make the court believe the teenager had lied by using the verb ‘grab’.
I'd heard Diana Eades talk about that Pinkenba case and her musings over the word 'grab' and vaguely remember her having intuitions but not strong evidence that Aboriginal people use the verb in distinctive ways to how non-Aboriginal people use it. But when I heard that example from Bran Nue Dae, I thought it was a pretty good one!

If/when this thing gets published, I'll let youse know!

References

Eades, Diana. 2012. The social consequences of language ideologies in courtroom cross-examination. Language in Society. 41:4. 471-497.

Kershaw, Robin, Graeme Isaac (Producers) and Rachel Perkins (Director). 2009. Bran Nue Dae [Motion Picture]. Roadshow Films: Australia.

April 04, 2019

Tonight's trip to Woolies. Or: who sits in a 4WD looking at a woman motionless in the middle of the road and beeps at them?

Tonight, like many nights, I got on my scooter to go to Woolies to get food for dinner. I scoot down one of Katherine's roads with a steady flow of traffic, the Victoria Highway. Halfway there, near Dominos, the usually mundane trip looked different. I saw 2 big 4WDs stopped on the road in front of me. A split second later I saw why they were stationary...

Someone was sprawled flat in the middle of the road in front them. They were dark-skinned. Aboriginal, likely. I was still approaching. I heard one of the 4WDs beep. My brain kicked into instinctual assessment mode. What was this scene I was scooting towards?

My greatest fears: this person may be dead. It may have been a hit and run. Less bad: she was flat on the road as a victim of violence. Less bad again: she was out of it and relatively okay but a major hazard. Regardless of which scenario it was this woman needed assistance. Fast.

I was in instinct mode. I zoomed past the two 4WDs, parked my scooter near her and with zero hesitation, went to her. She was breathing. Thank god. She wasn’t obviously seriously injured. Again, thank god. The situation didn’t seem critical.

I was the first to go to her assistance. But I was, at best, the FIFTH person to see her. Knowing she was okay, I started to get mad. WHY WAS I THE FIRST PERSON TO ASSIST WHEN I WAS AT LEAST THE FIFTH TO ARRIVE??

An older white couple that I'd earlier noticed had seen the scene as I was arriving came over shortly after they'd seen me go to her. They were helpful and started calling an ambulance. An Aboriginal man in another 4WD drove AROUND the two 4WDs that were there before me and he got out, started helping me and also directed traffic. He seemed to be the only person apart from me who helped without hesitation.

The guy from the first 4WD (I assume the one that beeped when I was arriving, but I can't be sure) finally got out and told us that she fell. I was glad to learn it wasn’t a hit and run.

She started coming to. She seemed drunk. She said she wanted to harm herself. Police arrived not long after and helped her to the roadside.

I made sure I told the police that she was at risk of self-harm. Twice.

An ambulance was on its way and I felt okay to resume my trip to Woolies. An upsetting experience though. I hope the woman is being cared for properly.

I hope everyone who didn’t act as instinctively as I did is at home seriously reflecting on whether they should have acted with more compassion. Seriously. What the fuck. Who sits in a 4WD looking at a woman motionless in the middle of the road and beeps at them?

But all worked out relatively fine. However it also all reminded me of a much more intense incident that a friend was involved with in Darwin. She wrote about it very powerfully here: https://fieldnotesandfootnotes.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/a-fieldnote-from-home/

It's never possible to be sure about what role racism plays in incidents like these. And I don't know what was going on with the other people who were witness to all of this - there could well be good reasons why they didn't help as quickly as me. But I think the question my friend asks in her story, when she saw bystanders offering no assistance to an Aboriginal man who was drowning, is also relevant to the less-serious incident I helped with tonight:

"How has it come to this? How is it that Aboriginal people have become so dehumanised in the eyes and minds of white Australia?"

March 23, 2019

Unofficial Kriol translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 50 (Cyclone Trevor)

Note and Disclaimer

Dijan Saikloun Stori im “unofficial translation” burru Greg Dickson (Wamut). If yu lugunat dijan en im afta 8pm Sadadei, im olwan na. Gu la http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings/ bla det nyuwan Saikloun Stori. Dijan im laswan trensleishin ai garra duwum, dumaji det saikloun im guweiguwei na.

This is an unofficial translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice 50 (5:00pm Saturday March 23). It was written by an accredited Kriol-English interpreter and second-language Kriol speaker who is most proficient in the dialect of Kriol spoken in Ngukurr. It was done quickly and will likely contain some errors. Please do not use in lieu of the official Tropical Cyclone Advice from the Bureau of Meteorology.

*If you are reading this after 8pm Saturday, it is out of date. Please go to http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings/ for the latest Cyclone Advice. This is the last Kriol translation that will be done because the cyclone is weakening and moving away from Kriol-speaking areas.

Saikloun Woning - Saikloun Stori Namba 50

5:17pm, Sadadei Matj 23


Mein stori

Det midul pat bla Saikloun Treba im antap la len hafwei from Burrulula la Kwinslen Boda. Im bigiswan saikloun (gulum 'severe'). Im garra bi deinjeris du tunait wen im kipgon mubmub la inlen eriya.
 
Bla Witj Kantri?

Det Kantri gada det brabili woning - From Neithin Riba raitoba la Moningtin Ailen en lorra kantri la det eriya, laik la Golf Kantri en la Bakli: Burrulula, Robinsin Riba, Wollogorang, Mikatha Riba Main, Keip Krofid, Creswel Dauns en Brunet Dauns.

From det laswan Saikloun Stori, thei bin kensilim woning bla kantri from Pot Ropa la Neithin Riba en from Monington Ailen la Bektaun (la Kwinslen).

Ola diteils

Hau strong det Saikloun?


Im Namba 3 saikloun (1 im wikeswan, 5 im stronggeswan). If det saikloun im antap la yu, det win im blo 120 kilomita per awa raitap la 165 kilomita per awa

Weya det Saikloun na?

Im antap la woda gulijap la len na, la Burrulula eriya.

Weya det Saikloun heding?

Im gulijap la Burrulula bat tharrai Kwinslenwei lilbit. Im mub 21 kilomita eberri wan awa.

Saikloun Treba im im bigwan (gulum 'severe'). Im antap la len na, sanrais from Mikatha Main. Det brabili deinjiris midul pat garra kipgon lusim pawa wen im kipgon mub tharrai la Bakli eriya tunait. Sandei moning im garra bi wikwan en nomo saikloun na, wen im sangudansaid from Brunet Dauns.

Lukat bla ol dismob

Det midul pat bla Saikloun Treba, garra bi brabili deinjeriswan (gulum 'very destructive core') en im mub antap la len hafwei from Burrulula la Kwinslen Boda. Gulijap la det midul pat, det win im blo raitap la 165 kilomita per awa, bat det win stat gudangudan dumaji det saikloun im antap la len na.

Brabili strongwan win (gulum 'destructive winds') weya det win im blo raitap la 130 kilomita per awa, im hepining na gulijap la det midul pat bla det saikloun. Detkain strongwan win stat kamat la Keip Krofid tunait.

If yu jidan la solwada eniweya from Pot Atha la Kwinslen Boda, yu garra lugat brabiliwei ba bigiswan deinjeriswan taid wen det saikloun kipgon. Tunait en alibala tumorra, det taib garra bi mowa biga then det nomul taid, gada bigis weib weya im gin demijim enijing en pudum solwada la len eriya.

Wen det saikloun kipgon mubmub, bigiswan taid garra hepin la Kwinslen du la det eriya from NT Boda raitap la Bektaun. Bigwan weib garra gaman en maitbi pushum solwada antap la len. Enibodi weya thei jidan la det eriya shud sodimat bi meigim alabat kemp seif en bi redi bla album najalot du.  

Strongwan Win (gulum 'gales') weya im blo raitap la 100 kilomita per awa bloblo rait nau la kous eriya from Neithin Riba la NT rait oba la Monington Ailen en la inlen eriya du la Golf Kantri.

Detkain Strongwin Win (gulum 'gales') garra stat bloblo la noth pat la Bakli tunait. Tunait en alibala Sandei, yu garra lugat ba detkain strongwan win if yu la Creswel Dauns, Keip Krofid, Robinson Riba, Mikatha Riba Main, Wollogorang en Brunet Dauns.

Bigis rein garra kaman en from alibala Sadadei ola krik en riba garra raning ol oba dis Golf Kantri. Thei bin tok ola riba la Golf Kantri en la Bakli eriya maibti garra fladwoda bambai (gulum 'flood watch').
 
Bigis Rein garra stat buldanbuldan tharrai la Golt Kantri la Kwinslen said wen det saikloun mub antap la len tumorra. Thei bin pudum woning ba Deintri Riba en Mosmin Riba ba bigis warajarra (flood warning) en thei bin tok ba lugat ba detkain fladwada bambai (gulum 'flood watch') if yu eniweya from Kens la Kowanyama o eniweya la Golf Kantri la Kwinslen.

Wani mela regen yu shud du

Bla NT said:

If yu jidan eniweya from Alyangula raitdan la Kwinslen Boda - dijan im ba enibodi la Grut en Burrulula du en la Bakli eriya:
- Irrim wanim blijimen en gabmen dalim yu bla du
- Bi redi bla brabili nogud wetha en ba det win ba get mowa biga en ba mowa rein. Jidan la seifwan bilding wen det wetha im brabili nogud.

Bla Kwinslensaid:

If yu jidan eniweya from NT Boda raitap la Bektaun, en la Monington Ailen en Sweers Ailen, yumob shud jidan insaid antil det saikloun bin guwei en den lisin la nekswan stori from gabmen bla wanim bla du.
- Yu gin gajim mowa infameishim from yu kaunsil.
- Bla sabi hau bla hendlim saikloun, yu gin luk la dis Kwinslen websait: www.disaster.qld.gov.au

Nekswan Saikloun Stori

Nekswan Saikloun Stori garra Inggalish garra kamat 8:00pm Sadadei

Note and Disclaimer

Dijan Saikloun Stori im “unofficial translation” burru Greg Dickson (Wamut). This is an unofficial translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice 50 (5:00pm Saturday March 23). It was written by an accredited Kriol-English interpreter and second-language Kriol speaker who is most proficient in the dialect of Kriol spoken in Ngukurr. It was done quickly and will likely contain some errors. Please do not use in lieu of the official Tropical Cyclone Advice from the Bureau of Meteorology.

*If you are reading this after 8pm Saturday, it is out of date. Please go to http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings/ for the latest Cyclone Advice.  This is the last Kriol translation that will be done because the cyclone is weakening and moving away from Kriol-speaking areas.

Unofficial Kriol translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 46 (Cyclone Trevor)

Ai bin digimat dis woning dumaji im olwan na. Det nyuwan yu gin faindim iya:  https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html

This warning has been removed as it is no longer current. You can find the latest unofficial translation (of Cyclone Advice 50) here: https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html

March 22, 2019

March 21, 2019

Unofficial Kriol translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 35 (Cyclone Trevor)

Ai bin digimat dis woning dumaji im olwan na. Det nyuwan yu gin faindim iya:  https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html

This warning has been removed as it is no longer current. You can find the latest unofficial translation (of Cyclone Advice 50) here: https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html

Unofficial Kriol translation of Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 31 (Cyclone Trevor)

Ai bin digimat dis woning dumaji im olwan na. Det nyuwan yu gin faindim iya:  https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html

This warning has been removed as it is no longer current. You can find the latest unofficial translation (of Cyclone Advice 50) here: https://munanga.blogspot.com/2019/03/unofficial-kriol-translation-of_26.html