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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Get rid of those cicadas!

Thanks to Linda and Frank for a very interesting workshop last Friday. I picked up some great tricks on using transcriber and audacity. Perhaps the best trick I learnt was how to remove cicada noise from my PNG recordings.
Maybe you already knew how to do this (or maybe you just fiddle with the EQ), but I always thought this was in the realm of Hollywood fantasy (like when the forensics guy magically “enhances” a grainy image to reveal the killer’s face in a thriller). Removing the noise allows me to more easily transcribe a busy recording, and seeing as insect noise was pretty constant and loud through all my recordings, this is quite handy. There are some caveats, but here’s how to do this using freely available, cross platform software.

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New report on Indigenous languages in Canada

Margaret Florey just posted a notice on the list “” (a terrific list for information on languages and fieldwork – see also their website) about a new 161 page Canadian report on revitalising First Nation, Inuit and Métis languages and cultures. It is definitely worth downloading, both for its recommendations and for the information about what’s happening in Canada.

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A Blackwood by the Beach for Papuanists

After a couple of very enjoyable Australianist mini-conferences at Crommelin Field Station, James McElvenny from Sydney University has decided to organise the same for Papuan Languages!. We’re hoping to replicate the laid back style of the Blackwood by the Beach conferences, but specifically for Papuan languages. Read on for more details.

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Publishing dictionaries and a recent grammar of an Australian language

On the way back from the interesting Australian Linguistics Institute in Brisbane, we stopped in Newcastle to talk with  Christine Bruderlin and Mark MacLean,  who produce very well laid-out dictionaries and learners’ grammars of Australian languages.   The latest is Amanda Lissarrague’s 2006   A salvage grammar and wordlist of the language from the Hunter River … Read more

Extinction of Australian languages and bilingual education

Nick Thieberger has just drawn attention to an article today from “The Australian” about the impending extinction of Australian languages, based on a Worldwatch report.  “It is estimated that 90 per cent of the languages spoken by Australia’s Aboriginal peoples will perish within the current generation”. This is timely, as over the last few months … Read more

Foundation for Endangered Languages – OGMIOS newsletter

The latest Ogmios newsletter has just appeared as a pdf – lots of information about what’s happening around the world, including excellent links to work on Indigenous languages around the world as well as reprints of interesting articles (local plug: they’ve reprinted Nicolas Rothwell’s rave review of Allan Marett’s book on Australian Aboriginal music) . … Read more