This is a monthly update about the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative (ECDI) activities and upcoming events.
- Simon Haberle is currently on fieldwork on King Island, Tasmania and you can keep up with what he is up to on Twitter – https://twitter.com/thatpollenguy/status/1540447212643446784
- Currently, Nick Evans is in Paris for the opening of the Fondation Cartier exhibition of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori’s paintings (3 July – 6 November 2022)
- The Little Kids’ Word List was launched in Alice Springs on May 25. There was a workshop about the Little Kids Learning Languages project followed by the launch. The Little Kids’ Word List is a unique online interactive tool for tracking children’s language development in Eastern & Central Arrernte, Western Arrarnta, Warlpiri and English. It was developed as part of the ARC Future Fellowship project of Carmel O’Shannessy, with collaborators Vanessa Davis and Denise Foster (Tangentyere Research Hub) and Alice Nelson and Jessie Bartlett (Red Dust Role Models).
- Join Ray Tobler for his seminar 29 June, Genomics, consumer DNA testing, and personal reconnections: Using genetics to learn about human history and ancestry, registration details – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/genomics-consumer-dna-testing-and-personal-reconnections-tickets-362775901487
- In early June Ben Shaw spent 2 weeks in PNG to do the work out logistics for the ECDI-affiliated fieldschool on Panaeati Island (Misima speakers) in Milne Bay Province which will be run in September. The fieldschool has support from the Executive Dean from the school of Humanities at UPNG with plans to draft an MOU to expand collaborations, beginning with co-running this fieldschool with UPNG to involve 50:50 split of student attendance from ANU:UPNG. The Panaeati communities are looking forward to hosting the students in September, and the Brooker Island community has agreed to host the fieldschool in 2023.
- Our next SYNAPSE seminar: No community’s an island: Unpacking a tricky terminology using Oceanic examples, by James Flexner (University of Sydney), 1 Aug, 2pm, registration details – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/no-community-is-an-island-tickets-353415644707
- To find out about the next SYNAPSE seminars – chl.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/1586/synapse-trans-disciplinary-seminar-series
- View previous SYNAPSE seminars on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTKJ6BoLMJNXdndd7rR39m6Q_KCcBvzeb
- The ECDI reading group meets in person on Friday mornings. Contact Beth if you’d like to be on the mailing list.
Seminars, Workshops & Conferences
Keynote lecture for our 2022 Biological Anthropology Seminar Series, 30 June
Islands of the small giants: hominin dispersal to Wallacea and impact on insular megafaunas
This seminar will be held at 4pm on Thursday the 30th of June (AEST) via Dual Delivery. Feel free to attend in person in Room 4.69 of the RSSS Building on the ANU’s Acton Campus or attend online by registering for a Zoom link.
First Nations Languages Research Workshop
11-13 July 2022, Queensland State Archives, Brisbane
The workshop is part of Queensland State Archives’ (QSA) First Nations Language Project, which aims to support communities and language workers with language revitalisation across Queensland. The Language Research Workshop invites language workers to further their language research, with support of QSA staff, and explore the collection to find connections between language, culture, country and family.
Find more information here and apply online here.
Support offered for plant entries in Australian languages dictionaries
Are you compiling a dictionary of an Australian language and need some support with plant/fungus entries?
I’m a linguist currently working on a project at the Australian National Herbarium (National Collections and Maritime Infrastructure – NCMI) to make its collection more useful to Indigenous communities. One avenue of this is to link Indigenous plant names to vouched specimens in the herbarium.
Plant names do not have one-to-one correspondences across languages and scientific names are somewhat esoteric and are liable to change due to taxonomic reclassification. Likewise, what may be identified as a single species in the Western taxonomy may correspond to different plants in an Indigenous taxonomy.
For example, the Kunwok plant manbardbard refers to grevillea plants that grow in the lowlands, while mandjenkererr refer to grevillea plants in the highlands. Both terms refer to at least two species of grevillea in the Western taxonomy: Grevillea decurrens and G. Heliosperma.
Linking a plant name to a physical specimen ensures that despite changes to Western scientific nomenclature or language shift in a community, we have vouched and corroborated connections between plant and knowledge systems.
If you’re interested in using the National Herbarium or the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) to support your dictionary work, please get in touch! Check out the Noongar Budjar plants and animals encyclopaedia for an example of an ALA/NCMI + language centre collaboration.
This project is a CSIRO funded post-doc fellowship and will be running until Dec 2023. Email: email@example.com
Honours project, Ablation study: What level of linguistic detail is needed for word-level modelling? (Australian National University)
As NLP (Natural language processing) tools are expanded to include new languages one of the big bottlenecks is labelled data availability. This issue is particularly acute for low-resource languages. So the question of annotation detail and quality is important. How much detail is needed for supervised learning? Is there a minimum number of labels to capture linguistic patterns? Find more information here.
Publications by ECDI
McBride, E., Wallis, L., Hopf, F., Haberle, S., & Dardengo, M. 2022. Demonstrating the potential of amberat middens for understanding late quaternary palaeoenvironments in the Central Pilbara, Western Australia. Quaternary International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2022.05.009
Sterelny, K. “The Cumulative Culture Mosaic”. In Mathieu Charbonneau (ed) The Evolution of Techniques: Rigidity and Flexibility in Use, Transmission, and Innovation; Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology; MIT Press, forthcoming.
Email ECDI@anu.edu.au to be added to our mailing list