Searching for Aboriginal Languages: Memoirs of a Field Worker

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 17, 2011 - Foreign Language Study - 350 pages
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In the early 1960s, R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon was one of the first linguists to study the Aboriginal languages of northeast Queensland, Australia. He found that some languages of the coastal rainforest were still in daily use, but others were only half-remembered by a single elder. This autobiographical account of fourteen years of research, first published in 1984, paints a fascinating picture of the frontier society that existed in the region nearly fifty years ago. It reveals the difficulties and the excitement of linguistic fieldwork, but most of all it focuses on the people who agreed to work with Dixon and patiently helped him to understand their dauntingly complex languages. They allowed him to record their legends and songs and spent many hours answering his questions; this book is a poignant reminder of the fragility of their ancient culture.
 

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Contents

Setting Off
1
Havent you got a machine?
19
You never talk it to me
42
Full of Unforgettable Characters
64
Time to get back to wife
94
Drink this
108
Of course well keep in touch
131
Doing all these Jalnguy
160
This way be bit more better
217
Happiness and fun
238
Its not
253
Those are good for you
281
Loss
307
I think I like that language best
315
Afterword
331
Pronunciation of Aboriginal Words
332

Lots of Linguistic Expertise
194
Tribal and Language Names
333

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