Back to fieldwork blogging

I’m back on the way to One Arm Point, so expect some slightly more regular blogging to resume, at least for a while. Things have been pretty busy, with getting ready for fieldwork (and the regular end-of-term work), and finishing up the manuscript of the Bardi grammar, which since my plan for the next month or so involves not working 12+ hours a day on writing, I’ll have more time for other things (like sleeping…).

I’ll be at One Arm Point for 3 weeks this time. It’s the shortest trip I’ve done since my very first one, in 1999. I don’t know what it’s going to be like this time, and I’m not sure how much of my general work plan I’ll be able to get through, but we’ll see. The trip will start with a big funeral for the Mr Isaac. I was very close to his mother (who passed away in 2004), and recently I’ve been in contact through facebook with his daughter and other relatives as part of a native title claim. I’m really glad to be able to be in contact with them again, and from the other side of the world. I’m also glad that I will be able to be at this funeral to pay respects, though I’m very sorry, of course, at this death.

Here is my plan of things I’d like to do with speakers (and at the School) in the next few weeks. Because I don’t really know how much is feasible, it’s a pretty broad plan.

  • Transcription. In 2001 I recorded a whole bunch of narratives, but I only got to transcribe about a third of them, and I did some transcription of others but now I know the language a lot better, I have questions to ask. I know the language well enough now that I can transcribe a fair bit on my own, but there is one speaker in particular who uses words I don’t know, and who speaks quite quickly, so I’d really like to get at least her stories properly worked through.
  • School work. I’ll be doing some work with the culture program at the school to set up a text archive, with links to transcripts, audio, and time-aligned subtitles (and some video) for at least part of my recording.
  • Grammar questions. In writing the Bardi grammar, a bunch of things came up which I’ can’t easily solve with the corpus, so I have questions on those.
  • Acquisition protocols. Tom Roeper from UMass and I are looking into adapting some of his language acquisition protocols for endangered non-configurational languages to test things like whether there is embedding and recursion.
  • Prosodic data. I have lots of textual data and a large number of narratives (about 100 hours worth, probably), but I don’t have a good sense of the ‘grammar’ of Bardi prosody, so I’m doing some work with my colleague Jelena Krivocapic on data collection for this.

One response to “Back to fieldwork blogging

  1. Sarah Cutfield

    In three weeks?? Good luck!!

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