Annina and Terrie Lowe, Bundjalung language coordinator, learning about ELAN

This week and next week Muurrbay welcomes Macquarie University student Annina Chrystal to our office. Annina is a third year student from Macquarie University studying linguistics, and is undertaking work placement with us for her degree. Annina has already made a valuable contribution to our transcribing and publishing projects and an unexpected bonus is that she is now training us in WordPress, the very program that creates this website!

Macquarie University offers a unique program and unit of study called Participation and Community Engagement (PACE), which enables undergraduates to work with professionals in their field, put their theoretical knowledge into practice and gain an insight into future career paths.

Annina reflects on her first week:

Michael teaching Annina some Gumbaynggirr nouns

As a linguistics student I have always enjoyed the technical aspects of language: learning about grammar, syntax and phonology. While I have not completed any tertiary education on Aboriginal Language or Cultures I knew I would find Muurrbay’s work fascinating and a rewarding “hands on” experience in recording languages. English is my first and only language and when given the opportunity to learn a bit of Aboriginal language I am eager!

In my first week at Muurrbay I have learnt some of the basic Gumbaynggirr words, and put these into practice while engaging with the other office members. Early in the week we all learnt how to use ELAN, a transcribing program, and I have been transcribing audio files of the Bundjalung language which will be added to Muurrbay’s corpus.

Reading Muurrbay’s published (and draft) works, especially the newest edition of “Gumbaynggirr: Dictionary and Learner’s Grammar” their vision of revitalising traditional languages for future generations resonates with me as an important cultural acknowledgement of Australia’s history and traditional peoples. Besides, the Aboriginal languages are beautiful languages and it would be a huge loss for their use to dimish!

I also find reading these documents a rewarding study as the theoretical frameworks align with my university knowledge: I am able to understand the linguistic analysis of the Aboriginal languages, and find it genuinely interesting!

I have enjoyed contributing and engaging with Muurrbay in my first week; bring on the second!