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  • So many new books

    Today I finally received the last of my "new" books that I ordered on and around my birthday a few weeks ago. Since all of my friends and family know that I'm pretty obsessed about buying books on Amazon.com in order to continue to build my linguistics library, most everyone bought be gift certificates from the site to do so. I was so excited when I started to receive these gifts that I could barely wait to check out my "wish list" on amazon and see what I should buy. I ended up ordering about twelve books and only spending about one hundred dollars of the two hundred dollars that I received in gift certificates. The twelve books that I bought had been on my list for quite a while since they weren't exactly books that I needed but rather ones that I wanted. I still have about forty books left on my wish list and one hundred dollars to spend, but I'm waiting for the remaining items to come down in price. I want to make sure I stretch these gift certificates as far as they'll go. I've sort of become famous amongst my linguistics friends for always finding the best deals on the internet for various linguistics books, so who I am so do away with my reputation, right? The coolest part about this whole new book thing is that I'm running out of space on my "linguistics" bookshelf. I have one five-foot, five-shelf bookcase for all my linguistics books and then another slightly smaller bookcase for all my foreign language books. It looks as though I'm going to have to buy another tall bookcase and rearrange things, because as you could probably guess, I like to have books grouped according to their category. I don't want any syntax books creeping in to the phonology books, or general linguistics creeping into discourse...it just wouldn't be right.
    Posted Jan 28 2007, 02:33 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • African Lingua Francas

    What many of you out there in cyber space don't know is that I have two really nice statistics trackers attached to my linguistics blog in order to see which of my posts you all are reading. I can see what pages you enter from, where you click to, how long you spent connected to my blog, and even what search engine you used to find my blog. I can see how long you stayed connected to my blog, and most importantly I can see what keywords you searched for that brought you to my blog. If you know anything about how search engines work, you can probably imagine that I got a lot of strange entry keywords from all over the world that really have nothing to do with linguistics. Often times, though I see keywords that inspire me to write about or elaborate on something that I may have mentioned in a past post. Such was the case today as I was looking through my statistics counter and saw someone had searched for "most used african languages". A little bit archaic yes, but I knew what person X was getting at with their search. I realized that I probably hadn't spent too much time talking about African lingua francas, and instead I skip to the more difficult stuff, so today, I'm going to talk for a bit about them.

    You might not know what I mean when I talk about a lingua franca, so I guess that that is a good place to start. A lingua franca is what is known as a language of wider communication...one that is used among groups of people who may speak different languages, even across a vast geographical span, that they can use to communicate with one another. Globally, you might have guessed that English is the lingua franca. In other places around the world, different lingua francas might be more popular, without a nation, a region, or a continent.

    In the case of Africa, we can think of lingua francas on several levels. You probably know that Africa was colonized in the 1800s and 1900s by several of the European powers until the independence movement began in the late 1950s. For this reason, many of the former Africa colonies continues to use one of the languages of the European powers as a lingua franca or as an official language. Most widely spoken in Africa, depending on the colony, are English, French, and Portguese. I won't go into exactly what countries were colonized by which power...since you can look that up on your own if you're really interested.

    The interesting thing about Africa though is that besides the languages of the former colonial powers and the hundreds and hundreds of local indigenous languages, several regional lingua francas have developed in the various regions of the continent. Because much of northern Africa is considered part of the Arab world, you can probably guess that the largest lingua franca in that region is Arabic. Of course each country has its own unique variety of Arabic, but they are mostly mutually intelligible. The most widely known lingua franca besides Arabic is definitely Swahili. Most people who know even just a speck about languages in Africa think of Swahili first. What many people don't know about Swahili, is that the variety that is most widely spoken was a particular dialect chosen from the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. This is the purest academic form of the language. Swahili is the lingua franca of much of eastern and central Africa, and it even has official status in Tanzania.

    In western Africa, the picture gets a little bit more difficult to discern. Depending on the particular area that you're in, many different lingua francas might come into play. It is for this reason that many people who live in west Africa have grown up knowing six or more languages. Some of the better known lingua francas in this part of the continent are Wolof (Senegal), Bamana (Mali and others), Fuldulde (all over West Africa), Dyula (Ivory Coast), Yoruba (Nigeria), and Hausa (Niger). Each of these languages is widely spoken by at least one million people. In central Africa, Sango is widely spoken, although centered in the Central African Republic. In some places in southern Africa, Zulu is widely spoken, as is !Xhosa. In South Africa, the situation is a little bit different. Although English and Afrikaans (a Dutch-based language) are widely spoken, the country has adopted over ten lingua francas.

    Posted Jan 28 2007, 01:58 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Just call me the vice president

    The happenings of the past few days just go to show that you really never know what you're going to get yourself into. This past Monday, the linguistics department here at IU-Bloomington has had its annual election for new officers for the Indiana University Linguistics Club, more commonly known as the IULC. I was approached by last year's club president and told that several people expressed interest in my running for an officer position. She explained that it was a general ballot, and that of the people who are elected, the officers meet and decide amonst themselves who would have what position and what their responsibilities would end up being. I figured that it couldn't hurt, because I didn't think that I'd even get voted in...after all I've only been here for less than six months anyways. Well, as it turns out, I was wrong. I was voted in as an officer of the IULC, and today, after our first organizational meeting, I learned that I was going to be the vice president of the club, as well as the managing editor for publications. Many of you out there probably know that the IULC is very widely known and respected for all the publications work that it has done in the past...and as such, publications end up being a pretty big money producer and a pretty big deal in general. I grinned and accepted my new position and gladly joined the other six very talented and capable officers of the group. I know that it's probably going to be a lot of work to be involved in the IULC in such a capacity, holding two positions, but I think that it will all turn out for the best in the end. The people involved in the IULC, and particularly the officers, end up being the most well-connected and well-respected of all the students in the department, both by their peers and by the faculty. I'm already doing a million things this semester...so why not a few more?!
    Posted Jan 27 2007, 01:17 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Second Language Phonology

    After an extremely long day full of class after class, I managed to make my way over to the student union on campus and hear my second of three job talks for the new position in the Second Language Studies department here at IU Bloomington. The shear number of talks that we are expected to hear being from such a huge linguistics university is staggering at times. Not only are we expected to attend and support talks that come from our own department, but we also have separate linguistics subdivisions of many of the other departments on campus, as well as African Studies, Library and Information Sciences, and Second Language Studies, just to name a few. There have been plenty of weeks since I've been at Indiana University that I've had a talk to attend every day of the school week...and even two in a day at times. I'm sitting here thinking ahead to next week, when I'll have three job talks to attend, as well as a talk in African Studies, and one colloquium from the linguistics department. Busy, busy, busy.

    I really don't mind going to all these talks though. It's a great way to learn what is really going on in the field and what people are looking into in their own research. Job talks are especially interesting, since it gives all of the graduate students here an idea of what to expect when we venture out in the real world and try to get jobs in academia a few years down the road. I've been especially thankful for the fact that all these second language studies job talks have been about phonology. I plan to explore the subfield of phonology as my "second area" when I get going on my qualifying exams for my doctoral work. All the candidates for this position that I've seen so far have been young and just fresh out of completing their dissertation, so they aren't much older than I am. It's nice that the graduate students in the department also have the opportunity to meet and talk with each candidate outside of the job talk question period, during which most of the questioning is done by faculty and other more advanced graduate students.

    It seems a little bit odd that all of the SLS phonology people who are visiting and interviewing from this particular job work on some type of French phonology. The first talk was about the acquisition of French and German vowels of different varieties, and the second was about adopting syllabic or moriac trochee in Quebecois French L2 learners. The third one coming next Tueday also has some to do with French, but I don't think I'm that up to date on what is going on to know and/or care yet. I'm sure I'll talk about it in one of my posts for next week.

    Posted Jan 26 2007, 01:07 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Language in African Politics and Jurisprudence

    Today was a really fun day in my new favorite class, African Language Politics and Jurisprudence. I know that that name sounds like a mouthful, but it is

    a seven hundred level seminar taught by my advisor, who is the man that I really wanted to study with ever since I heard about the linguistics program at Indiana University, so I guess we can let it slide just this once. The class, in actuality, isn't really a linguistics course per se. It's actually a seminar offered jointly through the graduate school, the department of linguistics, and the program in african studies, that just happens to be taught by a linguist this particular semester...and thank god for that! I happen to be taking the class for many different reasons this semester. Number one on the list, it's a great class that is taught by Dr Obeng...but I think we've already covered that. Number two, the class is an advanced seminar in sociolinguistics that covers exactly the material that I am interested in, so that's a plus right there. Finally, as a requirement for FLAS fellows in African studies, we all need to take a class sponsored by the African Studies program, and so luckily I was able to satisfy that with something to do with linguistics, rather than taking some course on African literature or history. As you can see, everything seemed to work out in my favor for the course.

    One downfall of the course is the fact that it isn't a linguistics course, and so therefore it is open to people in African studies who are from a variety of different disciplines, including political science, education, comparative literature, linguistics, and anthropology. With so many different schools of thought and agendas in the class, things get a little fuzzy and "a lot" scary to the linguists. We have to handle questions like "what are pidgins and creoles" and "what is the difference between national and official languages" in an advanced level sociolinguistics course. We also have individuals in the class who don't really understand basic concepts about language planning and language revitalization. Therefore, I spend half the time in class totally engaged in whatever Dr O is saying, and the rest of the time cringing at what some of my classmates are trying to add to the discussion. I suppose that they'll all be getting a rude awakening later when they learn that what they are thinking isn't exactly what has been supported by history or by the literature in the field.

    Posted Jan 25 2007, 12:57 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Oh yeah, I passed!

    I had meant to make a big announcement, but I just totally forgot about it...I found out a few days ago that I passed by graduate proficiency examination in French! Believe me, this is totally a big deal, because it's one of the big things on the list that I need to cross off before I can get my degree from Indiana University. You probably remember me talking about all the language requirements and proficiencies that the departments requires in order to succeed here at IU from one of my posts from last week. Since I'm going to be getting my Masters degree in Linguistics along the way while I'm here at IU, this French proficiency was also a very big deal. Even though I've only been at this school for less than a year, I'm already pretty much done with all but one of the MA level requirements. I need to finish up phonetics this semester and then take historical linguistics in the Fall semester of this year, and then I'll be done will all the MA things. I have to apply for my status change into the PhD program this Fall as well, so I can't technically receive my Masters degree until I have all the proper paperwork done so that it says PhD on my files for the department. It's a really strange system, but waiting a year for the status change is a necessary evil I suppose. It makes life very stressful for the first year of being here, because all the first years are striving and struggling to get perfect grades, get to know the professors, start thinking about research, and oh yeah...also trying to have a life too.

    But anyways, I guess that that is my big announcement...hooray for me, I passed my exam. It's just one less thing on the list to worry about, especially this semester with all the things that I have to accomplish. I was just talking today to one of my colleagues in the department and discussing the many many differences between this semester and the last. This semester is all about papers and projects, whereas last semester was all about homework and quizzes. I have a semantics presentation and project to get working on about indirect speech acts. I have a phonetics project and paper to get working on about the differences between mid vowels in Bambara, and I've got tons of things to do for Bambara and my social seminar on politics and jurisprudence in language in Africa. I can barely believe I still have the time to keep this blog going!

    Posted Jan 21 2007, 01:31 AM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • IUALC progress

    Many of you may recall that my fellow first year classmate, Abbie, and I put our heads together and started the Indiana University African Languages Club. We knew that it was going to be a lot of work, but we managed to get all the stars to align in precisely the right manner, and all the paperwork filled out so that the university and our two departments approved our club. We spent a lot of the rest of the Fall semester trying to gain support for the IUALC by going around to the various language instruction classes on campus and pitching our ideas to the students. We also brought our ideas to the various language instructors and the head of the African Languages Program at IU. Every seemed to be pretty receptive, so we continued with our progress. We got a computer programmer to start building us a website for the group, and we started to get together some more ideas and figuring out how to run a club and get money for it. It's been slow going, but we're making a lot of progress...especially for two first year graduate students in a very intense program. Today, I made some personal progress for the IUALC, as I ended up designing and building a really nice poster to hang in our designated glass case in one of the busiest buildings on campus. We've also been invited to put up a small poster at the main library on campus as well...hooray for publicity. Anyways, I had been putting off making the poster, because it's just another thing to do...but I finally got it down this evening, and it turned out very well. I trucked up to the main library and printed it out in beautiful glossy high quality on one of the plotters, and so now we're ready to go. I hope that lots of students walk by every day and read about the IUALC and decide to take one of the many African languages that Indiana University offers for both undergraduate and graduate students.
    Posted Jan 20 2007, 01:16 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Bargaining in Bambara

    What we did in Bambara class today just goes to show that we will never have any idea what we will learn on a day to day basis in that class. Sure last semester, we ended up learning some pretty cool things, but also some rather strange things that may end up being useful. I recall that from last semester, the oddest things that we ended up learning about were the various kindship games that are found in the Bambara culture. Many of you who are regular faithful readers of my linguistics blog will remember me talking a lot about these kindship games several months ago. If not, feel free to click back through some of my blog archives and find those posts.

    Anyways, this semester started out pretty tamely with some review of basic concepts in grammar and coversation that we learned about last semester. All of the sudden today though, we ventured into the world of bargaining in a Bambara market. Note that this is not something that any of us in the class have really ever done, and its' not something that we really do over here in the United States. One of the most difficult things to get used to was the conversion of money in the Bambara system, because although they talk about money in one set of terms, they spend it in another. Allow me to explain. As you probably know, Mali (and several other nations in West Africa) was formerly occupied by France. The French implemented their monetary system on their former colonies. Even though independence came over forty years ago, the French influence has remained strong in the Francophonie nations, and thus they all (with the exception of Guinea) have kept the French Franc as the accepted currency. Here's where it starts to get funny though. France obviously joined the European Union and adopted the Euro as its currency. West African nations did not follow suit and still use the Franc...meaning that their printed money is the Franc. Well, since the Franc isn't really worth what it used to be...all of the prices in West Africa need to be multiplied by a certain amount in order to equal what the Franc is worth. So when you're in a Bambara street market and someone tells you that the price for a pile of peanuts is twenty dorome...in actuality, you need to multiply that amount by five, meaning that that pile of peanuts is really costing you one hundred CFA (say eff ah)...that's the abbreviation for French Francs. Add this to the general confusion of bargaining with street vendors and trying to multiple amounts by five in your head, and you've got a whole heap of fun.

    Posted Jan 19 2007, 01:06 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Transcribing British English

    Today was a day that I had to face one of my fears. No, not one of those typical fears like jumping out of a plane, riding a glass elevator, or seeing a really scary movie, but rather I had to learn how to transcribe words in British English. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of trying to do a trasncription from British English, you're probably thinking that I'm crazy and that it can't possibly be that bad. Well, I'm here to tell you that you're so wrong! I'm sure that you'd like to know why I think that it's so bad though, right? Well, it's a good thing, because I'm gonna tell you.

    I think that it comes down to a fundamental problem with English, namely in the vowel system. As speakers of English, we don't have the luxury that the Romance languages, like Spanish or Latin for example, do in that there are a very limited number of vowels to deal with. For all intents and purposes, Spanish only has five vowels, and from what I've read in the literature, they don't vary all too much. Sure, some of the other Romance languages, French for example, have diverged a bit from this simplified vowel system, and they have crazy nasal vowels and rounded vowels and other goodness like that.

    Now back to English. Rather than having a simply five-vowel system, we have a whole heap of vowels and dipthongs that don't really fall in such simple places to chart. Add to that the fact that many of the dialects of English (British, American (all the subdialects of it) Indian, West African, South Africa, ethc.) are separated a great deal by their vowels. When I saw a vowel and dipthong map of British and American English by two speakers in my textbook by the late, great Peter Ladefoged, I about fainted. It was a really scary site to see all those vowels and where they sit. So, back to my transcription. It's hard enough being a native speaker of American English (the midland north version of course) to figure out what vowels I actually have and how they compare to other American English varieties. But then, having to step away from what I know and hear in my head and transcribe another totally different variety of English with its peculiar vowels (at least to American ears) is a nightmare. British English has a whole heap of different mid vowels even though their "outside" (front and back) vowels tend to be more clear. So, long story short, doing my phonetics homework for this week was not much fun, although it did force me to really use my ears.

    Posted Jan 18 2007, 12:44 AM by christophergreen with 2 comment(s)
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  • Indirect Speech Acts

    Part of the "fun" that will be semantics class for this semester will be for each of us to teach an entire class period on a specific topic from the syllabus. Being that this is a semantics course that will have a strong computational linguistics twist, the thought of doing such a thing had me a little bit worried at first. Now that we're over a week into the course, I've realized that many of my fears about the course (well, at least about the content) are unfounded because we're supposed to base most of our discussion about our individual topics on material from the book. I guess that that really doesn't save any one set of people in the class though. Those of us who are non-computational linguists are going to have to suffer through logic and computer anaphora resolution, but it seems that the computational gang will have more suffering to do through speech acts, lexical semantics, cognitive semantics, situation analysis, and all the other good stuff that made me want to take the course.

    I was lucky enough to get my hands on the class period where we'll be learning about speech acts. I thought that my good pal and fellow non-comp linguist Amanda had beat me to the punch, but as it turns out, we are spending two days on speech acts, so we'll be working together somewhat. There is actually a ton to talk about when it comes to speech acts, so Amanda and I have decided to split the classes between direct and indirect speech acts...and I'm obviously taking the indirect speech acts day. I've gotten to know a lot about the area of indirect speech acts, having done so much reading lately on Dr O's work. The more that I read about the presence of indirect speech in so many different arenas, the more that I want to apply the ideas to my own work with Bambara and the Malian government. For my part of the class, in addition to preparing a lecture from the materials in the book, I plan to assign a few short readings for my fellow classmates that draw on some of my favorite articles from Dr O. I'm actually pretty excited about teaching the class about something I like...go figure!

    Posted Jan 16 2007, 11:34 PM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Celebrating with the linguists

    Last night, all of the first year linguistics students took me and my fellow colleague Jason out in celebration of our birthdays. Of course, my actual birthday was yesterday, but Jason's was back in December, and with final's and winter break and all that, it was best to celebrate both our birthdays together. We really had a great time heading out to our best local pizza joint and having some dinner and just chatting. We all realized that we will rely a lot more on these monthly get-togethers in order to see each other and to keep up on what everyone is doing, because we aren't all in the same classes anymore this semester. Some of us see each other once or twice a week, but there are others who we never get to see. We all used to at least have phonology class together, and then most of us had syntax last semester. However, this semester, several out of the bunch are not taking the phonetics core requirement, and there are only three of us taking semantics. Everyone else has split up in order to take elective classes outside of our core requirements. Of course it's great that everyone is getting the opportunity to take classes that they really are interested in, but it's pretty sad that we all rarely get to see one another.

    After going to Mother Bear's for pizza, I was surprised to walk into a bar down the street to get a birthday drink and find a bunch of my other non-linguistics friends there to celebrate with me. Thanks to the sneaky nature of my roommate Michael, he arranged to have everyone meet to hang out and have drinks for my birthday. I was really surprised and very happy to have all my new Bloomington friends there for my birthday. We had good drinks, great desserts, and I even got some really cool gifts. My birthday celebration will continue tomorrow evening, as I've been told that I'm being treated to a delicious dinner at one of our fancy Italian restaurants here in town. I can't wait! Thank you to all of you for making my first birthday here in Bloomington a lot of fun!

    Posted Jan 15 2007, 02:46 PM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • Reading makes me sleepy

    After my overly extended winter break, I am still not quite into the mindset of being back at school, and as thus, when I had to spent my entire day today reading for next week's classes, I got pretty sleepy. I'm sure that I'll shake this after a few days, but right now it is just no fun. I guess that I better get over it, since I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to be doing a ton of reading this semester. Last semester, there was a moderate amount of reading, owing to the fact that two of my four courses were very structured around lecture and weekly homework assignments and problems to solve. This semester looks to be shaping up much differently due to a lack of focus in a few of my classes. It's not so much lack of focus on the subject matter, but rather in what exactly will be covered, assigned, and expected from week to week or even class to class. Take this week for example...I made it to my seminar in sociolinguistics this Wednesday and learned about what was going on for the semester and received the syllabus. No mention was made of any reading or assignment for the next week, although there were two book on the syllabus listed for the next three class periods. No one even asked any question about it, and I didn't notice it until later. So, being typical "me" I made sure that I had both the books, and I spent today reading one of them. I'm sure that I'll have the other one of the two completed by Wednesday, just in case we were supposed to have read them for this week. I guess that if I get them done now, that's just less for me to read for the following two weeks...I think. I'm actually really excited to read the stuff for this week...and probably all the stuff for this particular class for the semester, because it's all about language in politics and jurisprudence in Africa. The first book that I just read for the week is English in Africa after the cold war by Alamin Mazrui...the second one that I'll be reading is called The Power of Babel...also by Alamin Mazrui and Ali Mazrui. I believe that my professor knows the Mazruis well and he has worked with them in the past. The books, well at least the first one that I've read, are very well written and extremely informative. The first book is really eye-opening to me, since it concentrates on English in Africa and mainly in the former British colonies. I had previously done a lot of reading on French in Africa and the countries of La Francophonie, so I had very limited exposure to the Anglophone side of things. I'm pretty anxious to get started on the second book and see what it's all about.
    Posted Jan 13 2007, 04:06 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Graduate Proficiency Test in French

    The day that I have been planning for for months finally arrived today. I have been waiting to take the graduate reading proficiency exam in French since August. I had, of course, planned to have already taken the exam last Friday, but the whole having to get my appendix out thing kinda messed that up. Nonetheless, I made it to the test today fully prepared, and I think that it went really well.

    You might be wondering why it is that I have to take such a test, right? Well, as luck would have it at such a highly reputable and well-known linguistics department, our curriculum says that we need to prove our proficiency in at least three languages by the time we're done here. I've also heard it through the grapevine that they are trying to push that number up to four rather than three. What they don't tell you right off the bat is that they can't just be any language. The languages in which you prove your proficiency need to do something for you as a linguist and a researcher. Luckily, I already know French and I'm studying Franchophone West Africa, so that lines up very well, and it's one of the "recommended" languages for the program. I also know Spanish, but that's not going to get me very far, so I don't plan to even bother trying to use that for one of my languages. Since I'm in African Linguistics, I have to show proficiency in an African language, so luckily I'm already well on my way to doing that with Bambara. There's two off the list. I could probably find some way to be tested in Senari, but rather than do that, I'm going to hold off and wait until I take the year-long field methods course, because in that course, we always learn an African language. That'll be another one off of the list for the next academic year. For language number four, the one that is just recommended, I'll likely end up taking the graduate crash course in German, since a lot of the scholarly literature written about African linguistics is in German. Yes, you may recall that I'm terribly afraid of learning German, but I'm going to try to overcome my fears and just do it...after all, it really is necessary at this point in the game.

    Posted Jan 12 2007, 03:49 PM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • A split day

    My day today was officially split between things that I did not want to do and things that I didn't mind doing at all. Let me explain...

    My day not begin as any typical Thursday for this Spring semester will begin. Normally, I will be getting up early early and heading to Bambara class for 8am. Don't even get me started on the annoying task of having to deal with a particular classmate who thinks that the world revolves around her so that we only have very limited opportunities for class meeting times...hence 8am on a Thursday. Anyways, after Bambara, sometimes (at least seven times this semester) I will be heading over to sociolinguistics seminar for the "discussion section" of the class. Today, I did neither of these things. Instead, I talked my roommate into getting up extra early before going to work and driving me across town to my doctor's appointment, at which I waited about five times longer in the waiting room than I actually had with the doctor. He looked at my incision and said that there was no sign of infection or complications and then told me to return in a week to have my staples removed. Well, if I knew that it was going to have been that quick, I would have called the cab when I got to the office to come pick me up. So, I ended waiting twenty minutes to a cab and then paying almost seven dollars to get carted about fifteen blocks.

    Having received the clearance from my doctor to eat whatever I wanted to and drive, I immediately hopped in my car and ran some long-awaited errands and then hit up Taco Bell for a crunch wrap supreme. I still had plenty of time to make it up to campus to run some various errands there, check in at the linguistics department and let everyone know that I'm back, and then head to phonetics lab. Phonetics lab ended up being one of the most painful ninety minute class sessions that I have ever attended...undergrad, postbac, or graduate...it was rough! I won't get into details though, just know that it was not a difficult class, just a painfully boring and inane one. After phonetics lab, I scooted over a few buildings to attend semantics class. First impression...yikes...but I'm going to keep an open mind. The majority of the people in the class are not individuals that I would a) even assume to be linguists b) even probably speak to c) want to be left alone in a dark enclosed space with. Scary scary scary. I sat up front with the people I knew from elsewhere in the department, and I'm just going to do my best not to turn around for the whole semester.

    So, I guess that means that I have successfully made it through my second quasi-full day of classes, and things are going quite well. I have lots and lots of work to do this weekend, so luckily it's an extended one. It's also my birthday weekend, where I will be turning the big 2-6. That's right, I've passed the quarter century mark, and I am now officially old.

    Posted Jan 11 2007, 03:47 PM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • First day of class...two days late

    I'm back, and I am (so) ready to go! I managed to hobble over to the stadium this morning in the chilly Indiana air to catch the campus express over to IU so that I could finally join my fellow classmates at phonetics class. I made it to Ballantine Hall safely and found the classroom...and then I just waited. I had planned on giving myself some extra time so that I could take it easy with the walking up the hill from the bus stop to the building. It didn't take as long as I thought it would have...so I ended up getting a head start reading chapter three in the phonetics book while I sat there.

    Eventually, others started to show up, and I felt like I was sort of on display as I had to continuously replay and explain what had happened for various people. Everyone was very very nice and very concerned about me and how I was doing, so that felt really good to be missed. When everyone had finally arrived, the first thing that struck me was the interesting array of people, some of whom I knew and other who I did not, who would be in the phonetics class this semester. There were a few of the usual first years from last semester's syntax and phonology, but then there were some people that I just did not expect to see. This is yet another course where I really don't know what to expect. We spent quite a long time learning about a lot of phonetics things in phonology class last semester, so I don't really know what we're going to be getting into as the semester rolls on. I'm pretty sure that it's going to be a good class, but I remember people telling me about how to deal with classes taught my by particular professor. It went something like..."don't worry about learning something new everyday, because you surely will...but don't go to class thinking that you are going to learn some specific thing from the syllabus, because there is no way that's going to happen." From day one, I can tell you that that is exactly the way it is going to be. Things were pretty much haphazard and random throughout the entire class. Add that to the fact that no one in the class is really comfortable with their surroundings yet, so the silence is often deafening with the prof asks a question...because no one wants to answer yet. Hopefully we'll all get over that really soon...

    Posted Jan 10 2007, 11:34 PM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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