Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New England's Aborigines - The work of Professor Peter Austin on linguistics

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         In looking at the history of New England's indigenous peoples, I wish I knew more about linguistics. I also wish that I was sitting in a university with access to all its on-line resources rather than a very crowded home back-office.

I was searching around trying to find information on the the Ngarabal (also: Ngoorabul, Ngarabul, Ngoorabal) people who occupied the area around Glen Innes. They appear on my tribal language map but I know very little about them. In doing so, I stumbled across the work of Professor Peter Austin (photo) from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies. You will find his bio here.

Professor Austin played a major role in documenting Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) and in the development of the on-line dictionary on the language. He has also written extensively on Aboriginal languages in general.

Professor Austin's bio provides details as to his research. You will also find copies of some of his papers here. This includes a paper providing a brief history of research into the Kamilaroi language.

I will comment later on some of the things that his work tells us about the history of New England's Aborigines. For the moment, I simply wanted to make the information available to a broader audience.

Postscript

In one of those wonderful pleasures of blogging, Peter Austin picked up the link and left the following comment on this post:

Jim,

Thanks for your kind remarks highlighting my research on Gamilaraay and other Australian Aboriginal languages. This work could not have been completed without the contribution of many Aboriginal people in the north-west of NSW, and several linguist colleagues, including David Nathan, with whom I developed the on-line dictionary. John Giacon continues important research on New England languages -- see here.

Nice, isn't it? If you follow the second link through, you can actually hear Gamilaraay spoken

2 comments:

Peter K Austin said...

Jim,

Thanks for your kind remarks highlighting my research on Gamilaraay and other Australian Aboriginal languages. This work could not have been completed without the contribution of many Aboriginal people in the north-west of NSW, and several linguist colleagues, including David Nathan, with whom I developed the on-line dictionary. John Giacon continues important research on New England languages -- see here.

Jim Belshaw said...

This was a rather wonderful response, Peter. Among other things, you gave me access to a whole series of things that I did not know. I will bring your comment up on the main post and some links on other blogs.