Study Study Study – What’s on & overview of Summer Intensive

Now that the frenetic pace of our summer intensive is over, here’s a bit of a summary of what kept us so busy throughout January and February.

Starting on January 8th – till February 20th, we undertook introductory classes in; Anthropology (the study of human culture), Linguistics (basic grammar), Phonetics (we learnt all the possible sounds of all the languages in all the world, and how to hear, produce and write them in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)– this one was hard!), and Language Learning (we learnt “how to learn a language when no-one speaks English”, and a south Vanuatuan language called WhiteSands – this one was fun). Only 4 classes, but we packed in 3 classes a day, so it was a pretty steep learning curve when you’ve only got one night’s sleep between lectures on; contextualisation/worldview and the reality of black magic in tribal cultures; complex morphological analysis and starting on semantics; sounds that you make in the back of your throat, and the next day, sounds that you make even further back in your throat; and stringing together sentences in a language that you’d never heard before only a few weeks ago.

So, you get the picture. So the time we ‘graduated’ from summer school with the nod to go ahead with the rest of the year’s study, our brains were nearly bursting with new concepts.

A few photos from summer school…

An Anthropology excursion to a local Mosque saw the girls dress up especially….berka girls

At the Mosque with Saarah, an Islamic evangelist..mosque

Us with a group of Americans who are also headed to Vanuatu at the end of the year.. we all learnt WhiteSands together, (from left to right, Brad J, Elyse + Brad P, Jim, Gretchen + Houghton, Tania, Laura)whitesands language learners

Peter Namali, our WhiteSands language teacher…peter

Brad did a hilarious comedy/magic show at a ‘celebration night’ at the end of Summer School..brad illusions
Semester one started a couple weeks ago, on 3rd March, at a much more sustainable pace. Only 4 hours of one subject per day, in the morning, with the afternoon to do the stacks of required reading, exercise, eat, hang out with our American neighbour study-buddies, gaze endlessly at the map of Vanuatu on the wall, finally get onto our centrelink paperwork, etc.

So the subjects we’ve got on at the moment are Sociolinguistics (how social/political/geographical factors affect language), Grammar (getting into the crazy stuff – its almost philosophical!), Phonology (which is concerned with making a good, sensible alphabet, learning how people think of and  group together sounds in a language), Literacy (learning how to teach people to read and write, especially when reading is a totally foreign concept to them!), and Ethnography (which is a quite scientific study of a particular culture in a particular time and place). Brad and I are hoping to find a Melanesian community living in Melbourne that we can do our big Ethnography project on.

That’s all the news for now. Since we’ve finally got a bit of time on our hands, please drop us a line or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you!

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