Noongar, Native Title, Linguistic evidence: a small celebration before the night

The cause for celebration is Justice Murray Wilcox’s finding that Noongar people have ‘native title’ to certain parts of the Perth Metropolitan area (Federal Court (Bennell v State of Western Australia [2006] FCA 1243), Perth, 19 SEPTEMBER 2006).
The pursuit of native title (like the Snark) has cost heaps and caused much grief. But when native title is recognised, it’s great, and when the value of linguistic evidence in determining it is recognised, this is also great. Wilcox’s findings have lots of interesting things to say about Noongar language, what the claimants said, and the expert linguistic evidence provided by PARADISEC’s Nick Thieberger.

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Market value of ‘Aboriginal’ words

Diverting myself from contemplation of pronouns, I was led via the Indigenous alert (you get this by e-mailing library.research AT facs.gov.au) to a story on a spa in Queensland where the writer was testing

“Lowana from Li’Tya, a range of products and treatments which draw inspiration from indigenous Australian culture”

‘Lowana’ caught my attention, since I have been idling around with the etymology of lubra, which takes in Oyster Bay Tasmanian lowana ‘woman’. HO, I thought, a Tasmanian enterprise perhaps. ‘Woman’ I thought, good name for spa consumers. ‘Lowana’ – fits English speakers’ sense of euphony. So I went further to Spa care from the Australian Dreamtime. My machine was instantly taken over by a buzzing drone-pipe, but I fought on (with the help of the volume control), wading through the piccies of cute painted-up people, in search of WORDS..

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Language in Australia and New Zealand?

a post from Nick Thieberger
David Nash just alerted me to http://www.mouton-online.com/ausbib.php which is promisingly called: ‘Language in Australia and New Zealand’, and, for a mere 248 euros would seem to be an indispensible aid to the Australasian linguist. I popped in and got a guest logon which they generously (but perhaps ill-advisedly) offer for free. It seems to be a bibliographic listing (but in the days of Google Scholar and other such resources it may already be redundant?). I put in the name of my favourite Aboriginal language, Warnman, and got zero hits. Curious I thought.

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How do we know what they see? Field linguists and the appearance of things

Vivid pink plum trees, white cherry trees, soft masses of yellow wattle, japonica hedges with pink flowers leaping out of new green leaves, white cockatoos browsing on the ground. That was Canberra during the Rematerialising colour conference at ANU’s Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. How does the outsider linguist find out if speakers of another language have colour terms? This important question for field linguists and lexicographers was raised in two papers on the Australian language Warlpiri by David Nash and Anna Wierzbicka.

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PhD scholarships at the University of Sydney

if you want to spend three years thinking and writing about languages and cultures of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region …
Nod to Ethics committee: HEALTH WARNING: and you’re not ESPECIALLY worried about whether you’ll find a interesting job afterwards….
… applications for the 2007 APA/UPA scholarships at the University of Sydney are now open. Information and an application can be downloaded from:
http://www.usyd.edu.au/ro/training/postgraduate_awards.shtml

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Gimme that old-time jukurrpa!

Two major recent events in the Northern Territory were Gurindji Freedom Day (discussed on the 7.30 report (21/8/06) (tx T & D for the link!)), and the Garma Festival. The song from the Lajamanu band that was played at Garma ‘Gimme that old-time jukurrpa!’ [jukurrpa = dreaming, law in Warlpiri] appeals to me for its lighthearted bringing together of present and past, English and Warlpiri, Christianity and Jukurrpa.

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National Indigenous Languages Forum “Technology-language-culture” 5th – 7th September 2006

Fancy going to Port Hedland in the Pilbara to discuss Australian languages in early September this year? A flyer arrived from FATSIL (Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages) asking for us to spread the word on their conference and Annual General Meeting. I can’t see anything about it on their website, so download the flyer if you want registration forms and membership forms. A summary follows.

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Language revival – nice Gamilaraay resources and good news on assessment

The Wednesday linguists’ lunch at the CHATS cafe, ANU is a free-wheeling discussion of language, Indigenous Studies, and life in our various institutions – this week it ranged from the reconstructions of the pronunciation of  place-names (is Ulladulla really  Nguladarla?),  to language revival programs, especially John Giacon’s experience with Gamilaraay,  and what works and what doesn’t.

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