Artefacts, labels and linguists

What can a linguist do on a hot summer’s day on North Terrace in Adelaide? Once upon a time I loved the SA State Library &mdash they had a very good collection of books looked after by helpful specialist librarians who knew the collections inside out, and the Friends of the State Library of South Australia did an excellent facsimile publishing service which ensured that nineteenth century materials on South Australian languages were available. Now, while the Friends are still doing good things ..there’s an enormous Christmas tree and fake-looking presents in the new energy-inefficient glass foyer, a closed Circulating Library (“You can hire this book-lined room for a party!”), a billboard for the Bradman collection merchandise, and the historic Mortlock reading room has been converted into a low-lux display room (oh yes, and you can hire this room for functions too!). OK – so the library needs to raise money, and maybe someone who buys a Bradman t-shirt will browse a book. But when the rumour spreads that the State Liibrary is going to evict the Royal Geographical Society library and its superb Australian collection, you have to wonder if some people think of books as Christmas trees, temporary decorations for a convention centre. Please tell us the rumour is false!
The Art Gallery of South Australia? Sure &mdash there’s a Tiwi art exhibition Yingarti Jilamara (glossed as ‘lots of art’), and there are some interesting early colonial portraits of encounters between Aborigines and Europeans.
But the must-see is the Pacific Cultures Gallery in the South Australian Museum. It’s free, it’s cool, and it has the largest collection of Pacific artefacts in Australia. This will attract people working on languages of Papua New Guinea (including Bougainville), the Solomon and Santa Cruz Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, as well as Fijian and Maori.

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Click here – new grammar of a Papuan language

Hilário de Sousa’ s doctoral thesis is now available in the University of Sydney thesis repository. It’s a grammar of Menggwa Dla, an endangered Papuan language of the Senagi family spoken in Papua New Guinea and West Irian. The language has complex cross-referencing and is undergoing an amazing change in how switch reference works – … Read more

Papuanists’ Workshop Wrap-up

In spite of a few early setbacks – including the workshop venue being eaten by termites – the Pearl Beach Papuanists’ Workshop, or perhaps I should say the Itinerant Papuanists’ Workshop, was held last weekend.
Everyone had something interesting to say at the workshop. We heard from a range of people from SIL field linguists to PhD students to professors. The weekend was filled with intensive (and exhausting) discussion of many different aspects of Papuan languages and linguistics. Our exhaustion was kept at bay, however, by the New Guinea Fair Trade coffee that Tom so thoughtfully provided.

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Fifth East Nusantara Conference: CALL FOR PAPERS

from the website: In the past, four International Conferences for East Nusantara Linguistics have been held; three in Leiden (1998, 2001, 2005), and one at the ANU in Canberra (2000). With this fifth conference the location moves to Indonesia, and more specifically to the East Nusantara region. Also, the focus of the conference has been … Read more

Endangered languages, cultures and the Australian Research Council lottery

The Australian Research Council’s website today has survived the pressure of everyone wanting to know whether they’ve got winning tickets. I was in a few syndicates (PARADISEC, continuing the Aboriginal Child Language Acquisition (ACLA project), and a new project on Indonesian). And the lucky winners are…

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News: Papuan programme

James McElvenny has put up the preliminary program for the Pearl Beach workshop on Papuan languages. How can you miss “Kalam Rhyming Jingles” “Books, papayas and chicken cries in Bunak”, or the drum rolling finale: Mark Donohue “The end of Papuan”? The workshop runs from the evening of Friday the 27th of October to Sunday … Read more

Media Cannibals

Media watch devoted their entire episode on the 18th of September to analysis of this embarrassing stoush between channel 7 and channel 9. Until next monday, you can view this week’s Media Watch online, the transcripts should be up for a bit longer than that.
Perhaps my only criticism on the Media Watch coverage is that they focused mostly on the content of the fight between the two channels, but didn’t look so much at how ridiculously improbable the scenario was. I guess a follow up on this Paul Raffaele character, and a real discussion of life and hardships of people living in Papua (AIDS springs to mind…amongst many other issues), is content for a real news show rather than a show that critiques the media…
incidentally…I love the title “why 7 ate 9”

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“First Contact” experience?

With a language group that has 10,200 hits on google and a definition in wikipedia! Hmmm… Bill Foley, from the Linguistic Department here at Sydney Uni did an interview this afternoon and will be on channel seven’s news tonight commenting on the disgraceful “Wa-Wa” scandal.

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:

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