One of the ‘things that I really should have done with my data when I first returned from the field’ things

All us ladies singing and talking story at night

One of the ‘things that I really should have done when I first returned from field work’ was labeled, coded and logged (@ time) for key terms and topics all of my digital recordings (conversations/life histories/songs/soundscapes). I didn’t do this and I am certainly paying the price.

I transcribed and translated excerpts from a significant number of recordings during the initial first draft writing process and there are quite lengthy excerpts in almost every chapter as it stands.

Now I am in a position where I have to go back through all 60-something of the digital recordings to locate where, exactly, I got each excerpt from in order that I might cite them properly and triple check my translation.

Moral of the story # 029348230948eio: Clearly label (when, who, where & what), code and log (@ time) all one’s digital field work recordings for key terms and topics etc etc as early and thoroughly as possible.

I’ve now uploaded all my original audio files onto my iphone. I’m using a transcription application to slow them down so I can systematically go through the aforementioned process and find where the banana I got each excerpt from.

My supervisors think it a good idea that, for each excerpt I include the following lines/steps of translation 1) the original transcript in Gumatj 2) the grammatical breakdown 3) a free translation 4) a separate line of (conceptual) exegesis.

I am more than happy with this because I am really sentimental about the recordings (all of which are with my close kin).

As it turns out, my thesis is quite ‘language’ based so I think it is also important to give the reader as much primary data as possible to show the various stages/steps of my thought process – how I came to think what I think and why. And, well, it’s just manners really to give the reader as much information as possible when drawing on and attempting to explain concepts and ideas from another language.

This is a short example clip from one of the recorded discussions.

This clip is taken from part of a conversation about ‘controlling’. I asked what the Gumatj word was for ‘controlling’ because I had heard people using the English term interspersed in talk (which was otherwise in Gumatj) in an unfamiliar kind of way.

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Filed under Anthropology, Ethnography, General personal writings, Posts of an unqualified kind, Thesis/Yolngu related writing

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