« Old language materials: Elkin, Capell and gorilla linguists | Blog home | When language met law »

business learning training articles new learning business training opportunities finance learning training deposit money learning making training art loan learning training deposits make learning your training home good income learning outcome training issue medicine learning training drugs market learning money training trends self learning roof training repairing market learning training online secure skin learning training tools wedding learning training jewellery newspaper learning for training magazine geo learning training places business learning training design Car learning and training Jips production learning training business ladies learning cosmetics training sector sport learning and training fat burn vat learning insurance training price fitness learning training program furniture learning at training home which learning insurance training firms new learning devoloping training technology healthy learning training nutrition dress learning training up company learning training income insurance learning and training life dream learning training home create learning new training business individual learning loan training form cooking learning training ingredients which learning firms training is good choosing learning most training efficient business comment learning on training goods technology learning training business secret learning of training business company learning training redirects credits learning in training business guide learning for training business cheap learning insurance training tips selling learning training abroad protein learning training diets improve learning your training home security learning training importance

Yesterday brought two good news stories: an Indigenous linguist has been honoured as the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year, and the first relic of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt's last journey has been authenticated.

Congratulations to Raymattja Marika - the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year - and she's cited for her hard work in lifting the educational standards of the Territory's Indigenous citizens. Raymattja has been one of the leaders in bilingual education, and in promoting the use of Yolngu concepts as guiding principles in schools for Yolngu children. She's written articles on children's rights to learn and be assessed academically in Yolngu languages. You can read some of her ideas in the 1998 Wentworth lecture that she gave at AIATSIS in Canberra. And well as that she has played a great role in teaching outsiders to learn Yolngu languages and preparing materials for it.

It's wonderful news, and well-deserved. It follows hard on the news that Jane Lomax-Smith (SA Education Minister), on visiting the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands and discussing schooling with people, recognised "an imperative to maintain a first language". The article focusses on the poor English literacy outcomes of the children, but passes silently over the fact that for the last fifteen years the children have had only monolingual English education.

Discoveries: Yesterday also arrived with the news of the first authentication of a relic from Ludwig Leichhardt's last trip. So in the late afternoon we rushed off to see..

And ... in the cavernous entrance hall of the National Museum of Australia is a pillar, on one side of which is a tall figure in black beaded Yoruba regal costume. Today, on the other side, we saw a large case completely empty but for a small brass plate about the size of a short ruler (15cm x 2cm). Written on it are the words Ludwig. Leichhardt. 1848.

Leichhardt left Cogoon station on the Darling Downs in April 1848, to cross Australia from north-east to south-west. The exploration team were never seen again. The disappearance was a sensation at the time. Everyone had their theories, and every new generation kept on having them. No one could find any traces of the expedition. But around 1900 somewhere in Ngardi or Jaru country, near Sturt Creek between the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert, this small brass plate is said to have been found by an Aboriginal known as Jackie who was working with a prospector, Charles Harding. Harding is said to have taken the plate and given it to a teenager, Reginald Bristow-Smith.

The existence of the plate has been known of since 1926. The news is the authentication of the plate as an early nineteenth century artefact and the proposal of a hypothesis as to why Leichhardt should have left it near Sturt Creek. Previously people have speculated that Leichhardt was planning to head on a direct east–west line through desert country. But Darrell Lewis has examined Leichhardt's papers and shown that he was influenced by the German geographer, naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt who argued for the importance of studying the interconnectedness of watersheds. Darrell proposes that Leichhardt planned to cross Australia "along an arc to the north along the headwaters of rivers flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria and elsewhere along the north coast. There is evidence that he then hoped to find a south-westerly flowing stream that he could follow toward Swan River." The location of the plate near Sturt Creek fits with this proposal, since it flows south-west.

There are still no other authenticated relics from Leichardt's last journey. So authenticating this relic was pretty important, especially given the murky transfer of the plate from Harding to a teenager. And the NMA website has an excellent article on the discovery, history and authentication of the brass plate. At $200,000 (ABC News) it'd want to be authentic! The NMA even provides attachments on the methods used to authenticate. A Good Thing. Most have to do with the material composition of the plate - but I was tickled by one of the authentication arguments:

"The nameplate correctly spells Leichhardt's name with the double 'h'. If it had been fabricated by Harding – a bushman with no formal education – it is unlikely the name would be correctly spelt. In fact Leichhardt's name was often spelt incorrectly with one 'h', and often still is."

Spelling!

The Authors

About the Blog

The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.
More

Recently commented on

FAQ

Papua New Guinea FAQs from Eva Lindstrom Papua New Guinea (New Ireland): Eva Lindstrom's tips for fieldworkers

Australian Languages Answers to some frequently asked questions about Australian languages

Papua Web Information network on Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya)

Hibernating blogs

Indigenous Language SPEAK

Langguj gel Australian linguistics and fieldwork blog

Interesting Blogs

Omniglot Writing systems and languages of the world

LingFormant Linguistics news

Language hat Linguistics news and commentary

Jabal al-Lughat Linguistics news and commentary on a range of languages

Living languages Blog with news items and discussion of endangered languages

OzPapersOnline Notices of recent work on the Indigenous languages of Australia

That Munanga linguist Community linguist blog

Anggarrgoon Claire Bowern's linguistics and fieldwork blog

Savage Minds A group blog on Anthropology

Fully (sic)

Language on the Move Intercultural communication and multilingualism

Talking Alaska: Reflections on the native languages of Alaska

Culture matters: applying anthropology Australian anthropology blog: postgraduates and staff

Long Road ethnography and anthropology blog - including about Australia

matjjin-nehen Blog on Australian linguistics, fieldwork, politics and the environment.

Language Log Group blog on language and linguistics

Links

E-MELD The E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation

Tema Modersmål Website in Swedish with links to sites on and in many languages

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project: Language Documentation: What is it? Information on equipment, formats, and archiving, and examples of documentation

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources a worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples

Technorati Profile

Technology-enhanced language revitalization Include ILAT (Indigenous Languages and Technology) discussion list.

Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia

Koryak Net Information on the people of Kamchatka

Linguistic fieldwork preparation: a guide for field linguists syllabi, funding, technology, ethics, readings, bibliography

On-line resources for endangered languages

Papua New Guinea Language Resources Phonologies, grammars, dictionaries, literacy, language maps for many PNG languages

Resource network for linguistic diversity Networking practitioners working to record,retrieve & reintroduce endangered languages

Projects

ACLA child language acquisition in three Australian Aboriginal communities

DELAMAN The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network

PARADISEC The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Murriny-Patha Song Project Documenting the language and music of public songs and dances composed and performed by Murriny Patha-speaking people

PFED The Project for Free Electronic Dictionaries

DOBES Endangered language documentation and archiving, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen.

DELP Documenting endangered languages at the University of Sydney

Ethno EResearch Exploring methods and technology for streaming media and interlinear text