Norfolk Language


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Norfolk Language

Fieldworker, Elwyn Flint, an Australian linguist from the University of Queensland, conducted some of the first in-depth scientific investigation into the language of Norfolk Island and maintained an interest in the island for years afterward.

 

When Flint and his tape recorder appeared on Norfolk Island in 1957, his interlocutors already had some experience dealing with outside researchers. Word lists and glossaries like Pinney’s had appeared in print for most of the century. Anthropologist Harry Shapiro had measured and photographed their bodies and produced a glossary of some of their language during his visit in 1923. In fact, the islanders had already been tape recorded by at least one linguist. The American Polynesianist Donald Stanley Marshal visited briefly in 1951 to make his own cursory tape recordings.

 

Flint also found his fieldwork congenial. He wrote that he considered the Norfolk Islanders to be among the most pleasant and hospitable subjects he had ever recorded; they were, he said, “highly intelligent, linguistically conscious, and keenly interested in their own language.”

To listen to the original audio recordings… see December 2016: Issue 2

Twang! …and a little bit of country!


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Twang! …and a little bit of country!

Historical journals attempt to describe on paper the natural musical talents and melodious singing voices of the islanders.

 

Pre-war entertainment for island families involved visiting one another in the evening to enjoy an inpromptu sing-a-long to the accompaniment of the piano, organ, ukelele, guitar or mouth organ.

 

With an appreciation of all genres of music, but in particular throughout the 1930s country music stood at the forefront on the island.

 

The late Baker (Foxy) McCoy recalled:
In the 1930s – there were stacks of LP records on the island… everyone had those old spring-loaded wind-up players – with singers such as Wilf Carter, Tex Morton, Harry Torrani (British yodeller) and Hank Snow. …. During the war – and after – we would get together with guitars, ukuleles, squeezeboxes and have sing-songs at people’s houses. Or if there was a radio program featuring Tex Morton, or someone else we all really liked, we would listen and sing afterwards. Radio 2KY (from Sydney) was popular – we’d have the old radios with big valves and aerials stretching up to the top of the pine trees, right up high, to get a good reception.

(1999 interview – Bounty Chords)

 

The Norfolk Island Country Music Festival would not have built such a successful achievement throughout the years without the support of the Norfolk Island community. Hours upon hours of planning and organisation up to the actual hosting of the Country Music week in May of each year, is acreddited to the committee and numerous volunteers.

 

The 24th Country Music Festival is being held 15-22 May 2017 and you are most welcome to plan ahead, book your air tickets and get in touch with NICMA for an updated program of events and any questions or further enquiries. The festival provides a musically, enriching opportunity to visit our island, particularly if you are an avid ‘live entertainment’ music-lover and you enjoy ‘a little bit of country’!

 

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2

Our nourishing traditions…


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Our nourishing traditions…
Grow, pick, cut, grate, stir, blend, mash…

 

Where is your concentration when you cook? Are you thinking about emails to do, or tasks to finish at work…. Are you aware of your hand actually stirring the ingredients? Or do you throw it all into a whizzer because you haven’t much time today …?

 

Are you in a hurry? Or are you breathing slowly and enjoying the manifold sensations of smell, touch and the occasional ‘dip your finger in’ taste-test ?

 

Can you taste the love in it?

 

Is that at all possible?

 

I believe it does make a difference ~ being aware of your body movements and mindset as you creatively prepare and cook a meal for your loved ones. And yet I can’t explain it properly in words, because for some reason it is all in the final taste sensation.

 

Many Island elders insist that the plun (banana) fritters taste ‘oh, so much better’ when prepared with a traditional yolor (grater). How can that be? That the taste is ‘sweeter’ when you’re using the same single ingredient (such as the banana) without knowing whether or not it has been prepared with a yolor or a stainless steel tin grater? Certainly, it takes longer with the yolor so it’s not a time-saving exercise… Preparation is slowed, the use of an ‘old object’ visually reminds you of days past, the feel is different… and ‘somehow’ this correlates to a better tasting dish?

 

Community and family celebrations on the island such as birthdays, Christmas or Thanksgiving is a mixed-age-fusion around a culinary hub… preferably dining outdoors (it tastes better here too!).

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2

Horses &… a golf course


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Horses  &… a golf course

‘They are not like any other kind of horse that the world has ever seen…’
( A B ‘Banjo” Paterson – 1902)

 

It is impossible to imagine a horse.  So how can we imagine the reactions of 104 children under the age of 16, seeing, for the very first time, a collection of four-legged creatures on rugged hillsides? Even with a vividly creative, fertile imagination, it would be impossible to imagine something you had never seen before…

 

In 1856 a community of 194  arrived at Norfolk Island, a tiny isolated isle, after a sea passage of 6,000kms westward across the Pacific Ocean. They inherited upon landing, everything that had been recently left by the vacated convict penal settlement, including these four-legged creatures!

 

Having no experience with ‘the horse’, it was with a common attitude of perseverence, resourcefulness and practicality that ensured our community’s survival in their new homeland. The horse soon became integral in support of crops being ploughed, wagons, stock and produce carried as well as ease of personal travel island-wide!

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2