May 29, 2009

Another video - this time in Yolŋu Matha - rather powerful

Hey I came across another video chock-full of language. This time it's Yolŋu Matha and it's not a language learning video. It's a powerful message from an Arnhem Land homeland, from someone clearly and rightfully disturbed by the latest government policy that leans towards developing big communities (already often barely functional) and against homelands/outstations (often places where family groups live peacefully, happily and healthily while maintaining language and cultural traditions). It's worth a viewing. Here's the message from the mob that posted the video:

Created in response to the Northern Territory and Federal Government's continued attempts to close down Indigenous Homeland communities.

Yolngu and other Indigenous people have been living on their Homelands since before Settlement. Since missionary days they have asserted their desire to remain on their own traditional country. Most people thought this right was enshrined in the Land Rights Act (NT).

However, current and recent Government policies have been effectively coercing Yolngu and other Indigenous people off their country. These measures include rolling back basic services to Homelands, and closing schools while simultaneously linking school attendance to parental social service payments.

May 24, 2009

Ngapartji Ngapartji and online language lessons

While in Alice I was lucky enough to visit the Ngapartji Ngapartji office and meet a couple of the people involved in it. Just one of the things they are doing is making nice little language lessons. This one was availalble online. The language is Pitjantjatjara. (I'm assuming!!)

Docker River Language Lesson from alex kelly on Vimeo.

Neat huh?

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.

May 08, 2009

Barunga women and a bit of Kriol on YouTube

Here's a little YouTube video featuring two deadly women from Barunga. It starts off in Kriol then goes into English, thanks to MK's wonderful English. If you watch it, you'll notice them being wonderful, but also a bit tongue-in-cheek, especially that Bangûrn. She's awesome.