Usually, when we come out to Goroka it’s break time, and so Oscar has been having a harder time being motivated for school. Gerdine’s been feeling a bit stretched so I’ve stepped in to help out with a day of homeschooling here and there. Friday was our first day and topics of schooling included evergreen and deciduous trees. I’m not very good at identifying familiar English trees, never mind Papua New Guinea trees but we think we identified some evergreen and deciduous trees around Sobega. Although come to think of it what happens to deciduous trees when it’s summer all year round? Are the broad-leaved trees that have waxy leaves evergreen or deciduous? We’ll just move on quickly, I’m not sure! 😀
I have to admit to feeling quite unsatisfied with discourse analysis. I’m spending day after day charting texts and producing a write-up. I think I have write-up fatigue. Our phonemic and grammar write-ups are done, the cultural summaries write-up is in progress and now the discourse analysis write-up. I feehere’s a lot that can be done outl so useless when people come and visit and I’m sat charting texts and writing them up. “I’m working on a write-up” I tell them, and I feel so guilty to tell them that after 2 years of full-time working on their language, I’m still writing reports and it seems we’re no closer to starting a literacy class.
As a language learner, I need thinking time. So sometimes I’ll say that one single action happened and I’ll finish the sentence, no chaining, as I think on how I’ll say the next thing. That definitely seems to be a pattern I need to break though if the thing following is a “and then this happened”. Not chaining seems to signal that what I’m saying amplifies, or is equivalent to what I said last. I’m adding information to the last sentence, not moving on. It probably comes across as incredibly unnatural when I end a chain and then talk about something new. The content is obviously intended to be one event after another, but the pattern I’m speaking with suggests the 2nd event more fully describes the 1st.
I’d just popped into Phillip’s house, bringing Alice and Millie along because they were driving Mum crazy whilst she was trying to homeschool with the intention of finding out how Philip and Natalie were doing and talking about something related to our discourse analysis write-up. I’d just gotten the girls comfortable when there was an almighty crash coming from our house. I looked over and chuckled to see our solar hot water heater had crashed through the platform it was on.
There have been a few emails going around offering puppies to new homes here in PNG. I wanted to take one, but Gerdine homeschooling mum and mother of twins said no way. Life was hard enough and we just couldn’t add a dog into the mix (and what would we feed it?). Seeing this settled opinion I decided to aim a little lower for pets.
Today we finished off our advanced language workshop. I completed the charting process for my 2nd (out of 13) text. The workshop has gone really well, we’ve made good progress and we’ve gotten the idea of it. Our teacher asked if we felt encouraged at the end of it and we all said no because we’re thinking about all the work yet to do!
This week has been a weird mix of break-like activities and lots of hard work. We left Kovol last week to attend a 2-week advanced language workshop ALW. Myself (Steve), Philip and Natalie have been in classes all day long with a linguistic consultant with the goal of understanding better how the Kovol language arranges and glues together stories.
To be ready for it we needed to gather 13 two to three-minute-long recordings of Kovol speech in different genres, which we’ve transcribed to use for the ALW. Since we’re going to be digging deep into these texts the transcription needs to be spot on and I’ve been preparing by making sure all my texts are triple-checked, playing each one sentence by sentence and checking I’ve written it right.
Life has been a bit weird this week, but the feeling of life just carrying on is there. Most significant was the death and funeral of a Kovol newborn. It’s so strange how such a tragic, permanent and sad event is both life-changing, but things carry on as normal.
Did you know that there is such a thing as mountain crabs? Part of homeschooling for Oscar was learning about trips to the seaside and he found rock pools and crabs really interesting. It turns out that the jungles around Kovol have their own crabs and so to tie in we arranged a little hunt.