The week before last I was at AIATSIS, working on getting materials together for the Pama-Nyungan project. It’s been about as much fun as photocopying can be. Photocopying isn’t all that much fun, but I’ve had a bunch of real ‘finds’ and there’s been a lot more ready-processed data available than I’d thought there would be. Also, at ALS I received a number of promises of electronic data which I’m very grateful for.
I’ve been particularly impressed with the work of Victorian, NSW, SA and Queensland groups in the AIATSIS publications. It’s been very encouraging how many new works have appeared in the last 10 years or so, with more on the way, to judge from items marked “in preparation” in the bibliographies. Michael Walsh mentioned in his ALS plenary that we’d been all told that al the languages of NSW were ‘dead’, for example, so it’s wonderful to see these groups getting a higher profile and seeing the revitalisation programs and documentation that’s been going on.
[I’m writing this without internet so I can’t go looking for links to the books, although if anyone wants to post them in the comments and do my work for me … :) I’m thinking in particular of the Wiradjuri work by Stan Grant Sr and John Rudder, and the Narungga dictionary. I also enjoyed reading Jeannie Bell’s MA thesis on Butjalla (the language of Gari, or Flinders Island).]