Archive for the ‘General News’ Category.

Results of the metadata survey

Keeping track of what is recorded in the course of fieldwork is critical, both for your own future work and for longterm archiving. Recordings of dynamic performance (audio or video) are easy to misplace or misidentify and very difficult to locate once you forget what a file was named and what you recorded on a particular day. We ran a survey about how people record their metadata from January 21st to April 25th, 2016 and had 142 responses (see also the earlier blog post here). There were two multiple choice questions each allowing selection of more than one checkbox and the entry of free text responses. I can send the full results of the survey on request. This information will help inform the development of new tools for metadata entry. The responses are summarised below.

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Upcoming lecture: Payi Linda Ford – New ways for old ceremonies

Payi Linda Ford will deliver the Alfred Hook Lecture at 5pm on Wednesday 11 May 2016 at the Charles Perkins Centre Lecture Theatre, Building D17, Johns Hopkins Drive (off Missenden Road), The University of Sydney NSW 2006

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Reading HyperCard stacks in 2016

HyperCard (HC) was a brilliant program that came free with every Macintosh computer from 1987 and was in development until around 2004. It made it possible to create multimedia ‘stacks’ (of cards) and was very popular with linguists. For example, Peter Ladefoged produced an IPA HyperCard stack and SIL had a stacks for drawing syntactic trees or for exploring the history of Indo-European (see their listing here). Texas and FreeText created  by Mark Zimmerman allowed you to create quick indexes of very large text files (maybe even into the megabytes! Remember this is the early 1990s). I used FreeText when I wrote Audiamus, a corpus exploration tool that let me link text and media and then cite the text/media in my research.

My favourite HC linguistic application was J.Randolph Valentine’s Rook that presented a speaker telling an Ojibwe story (with audio), with interlinear text linked to a grammar sketch of the language. I adapted that model for a story in Warnman, told by Waka Taylor, and produced as part of a set of HC stacks called ‘Australia’s languages’ and released in 1994. Continue reading ‘Reading HyperCard stacks in 2016’ »

Toolbox to Elan

In the spirit of solving small frustrations I offer my weekend experience of getting Toolbox files into Elan. I have over a hundred texts in Nafsan, most of which are time-aligned and interlinearised. I am working with Stefan Schnell on adding GRAID annotation to some of these texts and the preferred way of doing this is in Elan, with the GRAID annotation at the morphemic-level. I tried importing Toolbox files using the Elan ‘Import’ menu, and had listed all field markers in Toolbox, together with their internal dependencies (which should then map to Elan’s relationship between tiers). These settings are stored in an external file. Unfortunately, the import failed several times, despite changing the settings slightly after each attempt. Continue reading ‘Toolbox to Elan’ »

Every hill got a story oral history just out

Every hill got a story: we grew up in country w51TVk4uaX0L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_as launched this afternoon at Alice Springs Telegraph Station. A companion multimedia site is hosted by SBS Books. The substantial volume is sold by SBS Books and is also available on Kindle.

The volume by ‘men and women of central Australia and the Central Land Council’ is compiled and edited by Marg Bowman, carrying on from the late Jane Hodson, long term anchor of the CLC media section.

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Dry-dock launch of ‘Kochlinger’

kochlinger
On Thursday I had a most pleasurable time launching a new book on Australian languages and linguistics at the terrific annual conference of the Australian Linguistics Society in Newcastle (thanks Newcastle organisers!). Here goes for ALS’s first ever dry-dock launch… for Harold Koch and Rachel Nordlinger’s co-edited book (2014) The languages and linguistics of Australia: a comprehensive guide.

Australia has a long and interesting history of developing new kinds of books about language areas. In the nineteenth century we had compendia of vocabularies across Australia or parts – by Edward Curr (Curr, 1887), George Taplin (Taplin, 1879) and Robert Brough-Smyth (Smyth, 1876). This was followed in the early twentieth century by Wilhelm Schmidt’s pan-Australia classificatory work (Schmidt, 1919), and later Arthur Capell’s new approach to Australian linguistics (Capell, 1956). Then Norman Tindale produced his map and bibliography in 1974 (Tindale, 1974). In 1976 Dixon edited a collection of papers by lots of different linguists addressing the same grammatical topics (Robert M.W. Dixon, 1976). A flurry of different types of books appeared in the 1980s—from R M W Dixon and Barry Blake’s editing of short grammar handbook series (e.g. Dixon and Blake, 1983), the handbook series for geographic areas with vocabularies and bibliographies which Jim Wafer initiated (e.g. Menning and Nash, 1981). Then there were overview books (Blake, 1987; Dixon, 1980; Yallop, 1982). In 1993 Michael Walsh and Colin Yallop produced their edited collection of chapters on different topics in Indigenous languages (Walsh and Yallop, 1993). That book became the mainstay of courses on Aboriginal languages and was affectionately known as ‘Wallop’.
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Somali phone dictionary

On June 13th we Arnold Zable will launch a Somali-English Dictionary app for both Android and iOS platforms, using the successful Ma! Iwaidja dictionary model. Opening screen of the Somali dictionary appThis is the product of a collaboration between the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne and Burji Arts, a Melbourne-based Somali arts and cultural organisation. The app contains some 26,000 Somali words and English equivalents with audio for selected items, so users can hear words or phrases. This app will have the capability of accepting input from users who can contribute items and suggest alternate pronunciations.

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Sunlight on IMLD 21 February 2014

Posters 'Language Walk' 21_2

A perfect blue sky and cool summer weather for Australia’s first International Mother Language Day (IMLD) 2014 walk. We walked from Reconcilation Place across the Kings Avenue Bridge to a Canberra park, where people sang, ate sausages, jumped on a bouncy castle, read poems in Bangla and Telugu, and generally had a good time. People from all sorts of backgrounds – Nigeria, Spain, Bangladesh, and Chris Bourke, ACT’s first Indigenous member of parliament.

This is the first time our heritage Indigenous and immigrant languages have been celebrated in this way, and it’s a great initiative of Canberra’s IMLD group.

Elsewhere in the world..

The Dhaka Times writes about the life and death of Rafiqul Islam, the man they say really pushed for the recognition of IMLD (Ekushey).

The Cherokee Nation honoured Cherokee translators who “work with technology companies, museums and universities to translate everything from documents to programs” and also a recent project to add Cherokee on Microsoft’s Office Online.

In Canada a private members bill has been introduced to get the government to recognise IMLD.

Sadly, in Iran Umid Niayesh reports: “
Tens of Iranian Azerbaijani cultural activists have been arrested in the city of Ahar in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran ahead of International Mother Language Day, the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) reported on Feb. 20. The report has published names of some 60 arrested civil activists which were gathered in a home in Ahar.
Ebrahim Rashidi and Abbas Lesani who have been arrested several times due to their civil rights and mother language activities are among the arrested persons.”

And sadly in Kushtia in Bangladesh there was vandalisation of a Shaheed Minar monument built in memory of the mother language protesters whose deaths on 21 February 1952 led to this day being chosen for IMLD.

And to add to the gloom, back in Australia, we have the draft report
Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory
. It is written by Bruce Wilson, director of a company ‘Education Business’. Major recommendations are that Indigenous students in the Northern Territory should be taught in English right from the start, and that for secondary schooling children from remote communities should go to boarding schools in the few big cities. The report does not tackle the fact that both strategies have been tried in the past, and have not worked. Munanga has posts detailing his concerns. You can send in a submission relating to this draft report. Submission deadline is 4.30 pm March 9.

But anyway, the couple of hours in the sunlight celebrating IMLD were great.

19 October National Day of Mourning

Today is 12 years since an unnamed boat sank on the way to Australia. The boat became known as SIEV X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel, Unknown). At least 146 children, 142 women and 65 men from Iraq and Afghanistan drowned; their names are tracked on a non-official website. The voices of the survivors are rarely heard: Ahmed Al-Zalimi here, Faris Shohani here.

A writer, Arnold Zable, calls for 19 October as an annual national day of mourning in today’s Canberra Times (Forum p.2).

We have a non-official SIEV-X memorial in Canberra; it was devised by 300+ groups, schools and churches who felt and feel grief at that tragedy and the continuing tragedies. The memorial survives thanks to the ACT Government.

SIEV X Memorial http://www.sievxmemorial.com/images/sievx-memorial-poles-aerial.jpg

SIEV X Memorial
http://www.sievxmemorial.com/images/sievx-memorial-poles-aerial.jpg

Lest we forget non-officially.

The NT Government gets animated

New animations with spoken audio in Anmatyerr (‘Anmatyere’), Kriol, Luritja, Warlpiri, and Yolŋu Matha were published on You Tube a couple of weeks ago. There are eight nicely done animations of a minute or two explaining aspects of the water supply in each of the five languages, all available through the NT Power and Water Corporation’s page ‘Use less’ campaign. (Thanks Carmel for the alert.)

There are no credits in the videos, or on the PowerWater web page that I could see, but I presume the translations were arranged through the NT Aboriginal Interpreter Service.