> December 2008 - Transient Languages & Cultures
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

« November 2008 | Blog home | January 2009 »

December 2008

Peter K. Austin
Department of Linguistics, SOAS
23rd December 2008

Due to the hard work of Mike Franjieh who is doing a PhD on a language of Ambrym, Vanuatu, the Endangered Languages Project at SOAS now has an on-line catalogue of the more than 300 books and journals we have acquired over the past few years. The materials in our collection come from several sources, including:

  • donations by publishers, such as the Atlas of the World's Languages that we launched two years ago
  • donations by colleagues, including ELDP grantees, of outputs from their research projects, such as Adivinanzas en mixteco a collection of stories in Mixteco, from Mexico. Some of the materials in this part of the collection are otherwise difficult to find in Europe
  • MA dissertations written by students in the MA in Language Documentation and Description, including original work with native speakers of endangered languages, such as Aromanian, Bajjika, Dolpo, Dulong, Khasi, Khorchin Mongolian and Uighur

2 comments | Read more...

Late in the nineteenth century, probably on the left bank of the Hawkesbury River, Tilly Clarke and Annie Barber took the trouble to teach a surveyor, Robert H. Mathews, something of their language, Darkinyung. He wrote down words, sentences and phrases in his No. 7 notebook, and published a little about it. The notebook is preserved among his papers in the National Library of Australia. This is the main surviving written source for the Darkinyung language.

On Monday 15 December, at the Ourimbah campus of Newcastle University, the Darkinyung Language Group launched Darkinyung grammar and dictionary: revitalising a language from historical sources, by Caroline Jones. It's another terrific Muurrbay/Many Rivers product. At the launch, Darkinyung people were centre-stage, but celebrating too were Wiradjuri, Gamilaraay, Gumbaynggirr, non-Aboriginal people, and the staff of Muurrbay and Many Rivers who made the publication possible.

Read more...

[from Jeremy Hammond, one of our men in Ourimbah]

A conference on Oceanic linguistics has been held over the last three days at the Ourimbah campus of the University of Newcastle (Australia). The goal was to investigate the current state of research into Oceanic languages and cultures and to highlight their important role in current linguistic science. Participants from a diverse variety of institutions (including Australian, Dutch, Canadian, NZ, Pacific and French universities) converged to display how Oceanic languages are still worthy of attention from all areas of linguistics. Documentation, description, typology and linguistic theory were all addressed over the three days. Languages presented ranged from the West Papua “Birds Head” languages to the Polynesian Niuean with many more in-between.

2 comments | Read more...

Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal declaration of human rights (UDHR). On the UN's website you can find translations of UDHR in 337 languages. Given Ethnologue's current claim of 6,912 living languages, there's a long way to go. But they claim it is the "most translated document in the world" (I'd've thought Genesis probably beat that). Recent additions include Seselwa Creole French, Sierra Leone Krio and Cook Islands Maori. And you can hear it read in 60 plus languages [1] on the World Voices site. They're mostly large languages, apart from Chamorro, Gaelic and Icelandic, and there are no Indigenous Australian languages - not surprising, since translating it would not be easy.

According to Amnesty Australia, "Australia is the only Western democracy without a Human Rights Act or similar human rights protection". They are running a campaign for human rights protection. Ditto Get-Up. An Amnesty supporter, Julian Burnside, writes:

"I once shared the formerly popular view that we don't need a Human Rights Act in Australia, but events of the past decade convinced me otherwise. They revealed that we cannot rely on our rights being protected by the common law. In Australia's constitutional democracy, the parliaments are able to set aside the common law if they choose to do so." Human Rights Defender 27,4, Dec. 2008-Feb.2009: p.9.


So, to language rights. These have come to attention recently with the decision by the Northern Territory Government to introduce a standardised curriculum into primary schools which will make it difficult to run properly managed bilingual programs using Indigenous languages as the medium of instruction. "The first four hours in English", a few words uttered by a Minister in Parliament, can change irrevocably how Indigenous children experience school, and the use of their languages in school, and will probably cause the irreversible loss of their first languages.

The Minister could not have made a decision so quickly, if Australia accorded recognition to Indigenous languages officially. She would have had to consider the educational evidence for and against using the Indigenous language as a medium of instruction, and there would have been public debate before the policy could be implemented. This would have been an excellent thing, because there is no magic bullet for improving Indigenous children's knowledge of spoken and written English. It has many many causes, from massive hearing loss, to poverty, to truancy, to lack of good ESL teaching, to failure by Governments to spend equitably on Indigenous communities. But bilingual education isn't one of the causes.

There's a stupid opposition made in the media between 'a rights agenda' and 'basic services'. As if pushing for recognition of human rights somehow gets in the way of providing basic services. In fact, what recognition of human rights does is require governments to reflect a little before forming policies which damage human rights.

UNESCO has a general site on language rights. Here's Australia's position as I see it. Corrections, improvements etc gladly received!

Read more...

Re-awakening languages: Theory & practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous languages

Proposals are invited for an edited volume that will include contributions from a broad range of authors involved in the revitalisation of Australian languages. If you, your colleagues or your students are participants in Indigenous languages revitalisation anywhere in Australia you are strongly encouraged to contribute.

The book will be independently edited by a panel consisting of John Hobson (University of Sydney), Kevin Lowe (NSW Board of Studies), Susan Poetsch (NSW Board of Studies) and Michael Walsh (University of Sydney) and be published by Sydney University Press (SUP). It is intended that the final product will be a significant Australian resource comparable to Hinton & Hale (eds.) (2001) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice.

Read more...

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

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