Margaret C Sharpe

I’m Margaret C Sharpe, working in both linguistics of Australian Aboriginal languages and in astrophysics, also a long term interest. I’ve carried out research in a number of Aboriginal languages:

Yugambeh-Bundjalung: The Yugambeh dialects were the northern dialects of the language traditionally spoken in the Gold Coast area and its hinterlands in Queensland, whereas Bundjalung is the widely used name for dialects in the Northern Rivers area of NSW, though one of the communities retains its traditional name for is dialect, Gidhabal (or Githebul). I’ve published on this language and recently issued a revised dictionary including all the material I and others have sleuthed out

Alawa: the traditional language of an area of the Northern Territory southwest of Katherine, in the Hodgson Downs, Hodgson River and Tanumbirini area. My doctorate was on the grammar of this language, and back in 1999 my triglot dictionary of Alawa, Kriol and English was published.

Kriol: the creole language which developed from the early 20th century, now spoken (with slightly variant dialects), as a first language by many Aboriginal groups across the north of Australia.

To a lesser extent Yagara from around the Brisbane area (in northern Brisbane it’s often referred to as Turrbul), Ngalia and Wangkatja dialects of the ‘Western Desert’  language of Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia, and Aboriginal Englishes. I helped in work to produce dictionaries of both Ngalia and Wangkatja, so others could improve what they already have.

I have written three novels (available from me).

The Traeger Kid, for about 11 year olds, based on my research into Aboriginal English in Alice Springs;

A family Divided, for adults, based on my knowledge of the language use and culture of Bundjalung people and academia;

Sumpin’ about them apples, based on the stories about a wellknown superhero, now in his forties, and a bit tired of being adulated for his special abilities in that role, and being criticised by a rival employee in his everyday role.

I’ve helped teach Alawa, Yugambeh and Bundjalung.

And now, having got most tasks I’ve set myself on these language areas, I’m following up my much younger interest in astronomy, and am enrolled in a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of New England, though I’m still available to help in the language area.

In my undergraduate time and even in primary school I was interested in astronomy. Old primary school friends thought of me when men landed on the moon. There is so much more known today and so many more ways of exploring space (with radio telescopes, etc.) than there was at that time, and I feel I have a chance of learning and contributing.

If you have dark skies where you are, you’ll know there are dust clouds in space (e.g. The Coal Sack, and dark smudges across the Milky Way.

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