As of October 2010, I’m a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of Melbourne working on Tiwi, a language of northern Australia.
Up until then, I was working on Wagiman, a highly endangered language from the Katherine region, in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia. Its classification is not absolutely clear and there are a couple of opinions, the most favoured of which puts Wagiman in a small family of four languages, with Yangoman, Dagoman and Wardaman. Of these other three, only Wardaman is still spoken. This small family, which I am very tempted to call the Manic family, is closest related, either as a sibling or an offspring, of the Gunwingguan family of languages.
Linguistics has been my primary interest since a first-year linguistics class way back in 2002. More recently though, my studies have allowed me to concentrate on Australia’s Aboriginal people and the issues they face, something that not a lot of non-indigenous Australians think about – the former-me included.
I’ve been very politically aware since very early high school, year 7 in fact, when John Howard was elected as Prime Minister of Australia. The last ten years have been increasingly disillusioning for me, and every election year I am reminded of the voters’ general inability to consider anything that doesn’t immediately and financially affect them. That was until just recently, of course.
This blog was originally intended to join that niche market of blogs by linguists working out in the field, except during the year or so that I wasn’t out in the field I began discussing politics, environmentalism, indigenous issues and various other things that can only be summed up by et cetera. I always try to bring in a little bit of linguistics every now and then, ranging from insignificant curios right through to complex typological analyses.
Jangari is my skin name, it was given to me by the Kybrook mob who were extremely welcoming during my three field trips thus far, and it has since become a part of my identity.