English | 1984 | ISBN: 0855751576 | 664 Pages | PDF | 71.5 MB
The two or three hundred people who speak this language with varying degrees of proficiency were formerly hunters and gatherers on the mainland coast of Arnhem Land opposite Groote Eylandt, in the Northern Territory of Australia. The majority of Nunggubuyu were settled at Numbulwar Mission in 1952, and it was there that most of my fieldwork was done between 1973 and 1977. During the years immediately before 1952, the Nunggubuyu spent some time at other earlier settlements but, due to periodic outbreaks of friction with the locally dominant groups there and to their culturally engrained attachment to their own local territory and its food and ritual resources, they also spent much time in the bush living their traditional life. Several of my major informants and narrators therefore grew up in the bush, and even in the mid seventies spoke little or no English and had made little adjustment to European culture (as opposed to European material phenomena).