Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leaving Ngukurr

Our last few days in Ngukurr were a little more relaxed as things had been resolved at the Katherine Language Centre. I was a bit nervous about the future of the Ngukurr Language centre... where next? With Wamut in Katherine, it looked like a time for a change- but I think the language centre linguists came to the rescue and are supporting the already great CDEP team there.

The weekend before we left, we took some work out bush the river- it was so lovely to get into the water and sit under a tree and hear all the kids laughing and playing. We spent the whole day peacefully in the river- in retrospect it was a highlight of our visit. We got a bit of work done checking animal names in Marra for the ethnobotany/biology study.

I can't believe ( as usual) how easy life is in NSW in comparison, just the relief of fresh fruit and water and cool weather...the ease of communication and expressing and understaning other peoples ideas and moods. It amazes again and again how opaque the communication between Standard Australian English Speakers adn Kriol speakers is.When I was in Minyerri last the little kids spent a climbed all over me ( collecting new friends as the went) - 'yu sabi tok blakfela ay?', irrimim, im sabi tok blakfela'. It was only then that I realised that 'Blakfela' is the name not just for Kriol, but for the entire 'style' of interaction.I wonder if you were a speaker of Aboriginal English would these kids identify you as a 'Blakfela' speaker, if you used the communicative 'style' that identifies with these languages (dialects).

It is lovely to be home, I love the feeling of summer arriving...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Positive Response from Gen. Chalmers

"Thank you for your prompt follow up to our discussion. I appreciate the
importance of effective communications and the need to use interpreters
if we are to have any chance of meaningful dialogue with people.

As a result of your email, I have provided the contact details of the
Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre to my staff and directed
that the use of interpreters be a standard planning consideration for
any visit or engagement activity."

Dave Chalmers
Major General
Operational Commander
NT Emergency Response Taskforce