Last night, as I waited at the local Indian take away for my palak naan to cook, I began entertaining myself in a way that, in retrospect, makes me think ‘wow, this is cool’.

With James’ expertise and programming, we’ve managed to produce a first generation mobile phone dictionary for Wagiman – it’s not for wider circulation yet as there are some serious corrections that need to be made first – and to test it I installed it on my own phone. Of course we have had mobile phone dictionaries of other languages, most notably Kaurna and Dharug, but this is the first time that I’ve had a chance to use such a dictionary of a language with which I’m familiar.

So while waiting for my naan, I was scrolling through the list of words under some random search string, ‘bar’ I think it was, stopping at each word I didn’t previously know or couldn’t remember and trying to learn it. I can tell already that this is going to be useful for me to get Wagiman back into my head, and useful for partial speakers to brush up on a language which perhaps they don’t speak as well as they should.

I don’t intend to say I was ever doubtful of the coolness of a mobile phone dictionary, just that it’s quite different when you get to use it yourself as it’s intended to be used, and when you derive some benefit from it. I’m looking forward to being able to show it off during my fieldtrip next month.

Yakgarra (interjection) ‘Wow!’

One Comment

  1. Claire says:

    yakarra in Yan-nhangu is the word for ‘name’, and it’s also used for dictionary headwords… so you’ve made a multi-lingual pun in the title!

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