In September 2018 Nguvudirr Jeremiah Tunmuck, funded by a Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL) Indigenous Scholar grant, visited the University of Melbourne to work with Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) postdoctoral fellow John Mansfield.
Nguvudirr is a Magati Ke man from Yederr, a fluent speaker of Murrinhpatha, and a skilled translator of Murrinhpatha to English. He lives in Wadeye, NT, and he has extensive experience as a language consultant working with John and others.
On Friday 17 September Nguvudirr, together with John and Tony Goodfellow, delivered a seminar in the Murrinhpatha language entitled “Yederr country, Murrinhpatha heavy and light”. Nguvudirr led the seminar in his first language and John provided translation in English. This was the first RUIL (and possibly University of Melbourne) seminar delivered primarily in an Aboriginal language. The message was powerful, and the seminar was very well received by attendees. It was a privilege for RUIL to be a part of.
For the rest of his visit, Nguvudirr and John worked on transcriptions and translations of archival Murrinhpatha stories. They added two further texts to Murrinhpatha corpus which will also be returned to the Literacy Production Centre in Wadeye. Nguvudirr gained better understanding of what happens to language data on its journey from the bush to the university campus, and on to publication and the possibilities of collaborative research.
There was also time for some play and besides exploring Melbourne, Nguvudirr and John visited the Victorian high country for a personal first snow day!