Yet more from the archives

A final day of archival work. I got copies of the vocabularies that R H Mathews recorded (from various languages), as well as trying to sort out some more about Ngumbarl (the topic of a talk I gave at ANU last week). It’s pleasantly confusing. More on that in another post.

I spent the time with three people’s work: Jeff Heath’s Dhay’yi and Ritharrngu notes, Bronwyn Stokes’ Nyulnyulan materials and the Mathews vocabularies.

I like looking at other people’s notes and seeing what they do. Bronwyn’s are extremely impressive: legible, copious and there’s lots of interesting stuff in there for Nyulnyulanists. I hadn’t realised she’d recorded as much Bardi as was there. She used one notebook after another, numbered all the pages consecutively (over 1300 I think) and used both sides of the notebook page. They are dense with fairly minimal glossing. There’s a lot of information there but I’m glad there are other sources (and dictionaries) for these languages. The Bardi looks very reliable except for vowel length, which seems not to be marked, and there’s a lot more Ngumbarl than I thought. It looks somewhat similar to the “Ngumbarl” in Peile’s recordings (which I wasn’t sure if it was Ngumbarl or Jukun), so maybe that mystery is more solved than I thought it was.

Today’s field award definitely goes to Jeff Heath though, for immaculate notes. My typed notes aren’t as neat as his first-up handwritten ones!


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