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January 2006 - Posts

  • I'm back

    Well, I'm back in the good ole US, and not a moment too soon. After a long day of traveling, I finally arrived in Tallahassee around 11:30 pm eastern standard time. Mind you that that is 5:30 am Paris time. I left my hotel at 6:30 am the morning before...that's right...23 hours of traveling time. Three flights and four airports later. The trip back was definitely more enjoyable than the trip there since I was smart enough to take three Nyquils and sleep for a few hours on the flight. It started to get a little rough towards the end on the little tiny commuter plane between Charlotte and Tallahassee, but I was pretty anxious to get back. Luckily, my luggage did not get lost, and only one thing got broken. I realized on the way back that my French really did improve while I was in Paris. During the last week that I was there, I had a miraculous increase in my comprehension and was able to just jump into conversations naturally. When I first arrived, I was a little overwhelmed, because the French speak extremely fast and very quietly. I spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the lobby area of the hotel just listening. It definitely paid off by the end. As with most things, the key will be maintenance and improvement. I signed up for the French new podcasts for my Ipod. The podcasts are made for Parisian radio, so they have no mercy! I guess I'll just keep listening to those and reading and attempting to speak at any chance that I get.
    Posted Jan 31 2006, 01:58 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Almost time to go home...

    C'est samedi et j'ai trois nouveaus compagnonnes. Ce fois, tous mes compagnonnes parlent anglais. Il y a un garcon australien et deux autres garcons qui habitent en london mais vivent aux etats-unis. Ce matin, j'ai visite la conciergerie. Pendant le XIX siecle, il etait un prison pour des personnes qui attendraient la guillotine. Il n'etait pas un bon musee, alors je n'y ai reste longtemps. Je me suis promene a Chatelet pour prendres des fotos et puis j'ai visite le caroussel du louvre. Je me suis promene en les jardins, et puis en les jardins des tuileries. J'ai regarde le Place de la Concorde et puis j'ai continue aux Champs Elysses. J'ai regarde le palais royal, le grande palais, l'eglise de dome, et bien sur l'arc de triomphe. C'etait une longue promenade. Je suis retourne a l'hotel et j'ai dormi un peu. Maintentant, je fais mes devoirs...seulement deux jours...
    Posted Jan 28 2006, 09:48 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • So long Nadine...

    Le jour avait arrive...ce matin Nadine a parti pour voyager au sud de France. Elle visitera Grenoble, pres de Suisse et elle continuera son projet. Elle y restera une semaine et puis, fait le voyage au Afrique du Sud. Je vais etre honnete...je pret a retourner chez moi. J'avais regarde toutes les choses que j'avais espere voir. Bien sur, il y a beaucoups de choses que je peux encore regarder, mais je pense que je utiliserai les prochaines jours me reposer. Je ne veux pas avoir besoin de prendre un vacances quand je retourne.
    Posted Jan 27 2006, 10:24 AM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Beginning the second week...

    Une semaine en Paris, et il etait tres longue. J'ai eu trois compagnonnes ma premiere semaine, et alors les deux ont departe. Ma compagnonne, s'appele Nadine, est encore ici avec moi. Je pense qu'elle est pret pour retourner a Afrique du Sud. Elle departe a vendredi pour la sud de France pour continuer ses etudes jusqu'a le 4 fevrier. Puis, elle retourne chez elle. Hier soir, nous avons des nouveaux compagnonnes, deux filles d'Allemange. Elles etaient terribles! Elles faisent tres bruyant et refusant parler Anglais. Aujourd'***, deux autres!...Une fille japonaise et un garcon chinois. Ils sont folles! Ils ne parlent pas beaucoup d'Anglais ou de francais. Ca c'est une tres estrange situation. Nadine n'est pas heureuse. Demain, je vais sortir aux catacombs. Je reconterai une histoire a cet sujet le demain soir, je pense. Bonsoir tout le monde!
    Posted Jan 25 2006, 09:21 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Thanks guys...

    Thanks for the apologies...they are well received. I gladly welcome any comments that you guys have. I'm sure you can appreciate the culture shock that one feels when traveling overseas for the first time. Dealing with speaking French constantly here is enough of a difficult time, but to be corrected on the "home turf" is a little tough to deal with. I thank you both for being "regulars" and reading my blog. The internet connection here has been a terrible mess until just yesterday. I hope to be able to blog some more in my last week in Paris. Much appreciated again guys...cheers!
    Posted Jan 24 2006, 09:15 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Wait a sec...

    Uhmm....excuse me for a moment please....

    I just want to make something clear. I appreciate each and every person who visits my blog to read it, but I do not....let me repeat...do not...appreciate people feeling as though they need to correct my blogs. I apologize for not recalling the word for roommates in French and I believe that I apologized already for not using accents. I'm using a laptop with no keypad, so accents are quite a pain to deal with. As for my French...some of you may know that I only ever took French for one semester in college. Everything that I learned, I learned on my own. I took that semester to solidify my conversation and to be in an immersion classroom. I continue to study French on my own, read the French newspaper, watch movies in French, and do plenty of other related things. I hate to write this post, because some of the people posting "corrections" are regular readers of my blog and very intelligent people. I promise you though, you will never find me going to their blog and correcting something they write....English, French or otherwise. If you feel the need to be pedantic and correct my French vocab or usage, I kindly invite you to stop reading my blog and find somewhere else to spread your unnecessary comments.

    With that said...I'm having a wonderful time on my trip. I have not been able to post, because finding reliable internet connections here for my wireless is rather difficult. I believe that I've solved the internet problem at my hotel, and I'll try to keep up the posts.

    Posted Jan 23 2006, 08:12 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Day 2

    Salut! C'est jour numero deux ici en Pairs, et encore j'ai le jet-lag. Je me suis leve pour manger le petit dejeuner compris. L'hotel on donne un croissant, une petite baguette, un verre de jus d'orange, and cafe aussi. Pas mal! J'ai marche aux le Musee du Louvre et j'ai reste la pour presque quatre heures. J'ai regarde la Mona Lisa, et beaucoup d'autre pieces de l'arte. J'ai retourne a l'hotel et a plus tard j'ai sorti a la Marais pour explorer. Il y a beaucoup de petites shoppes et galeries la-bas. Enfin, j'ai marche le canal st. martin et faites du ricochet comme Amelie. Je suis tres fatigue encore une fois, et alors je vais me couche tot assez que tard ce soir.
    Posted Jan 19 2006, 07:09 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Bonjour de Paris!

    Bonjour tout le monde! Je suis en Paris et je suis tres fatigue. Je ne vais pas utilise les accents a cause de ma ordinateur est tres estupide. J'ai arrive ici a dix heures ce matin et mes bagages ont arrive aussi. J'ai trouve le train aux gare du nord, and puis j'ai arrive a mon hotel. L'hotel est la chambre sont petites, mais le prix est tres bon. J'ai eu jet-lag (don't know the french for that) est je me suis couche pour plusieurs heures. J'ai faites la connaissance de ma room-mate, une fille qui vit en Afrique du Sud. Elle est ici pour etudier l'art. J'ai marche vers le Seine est arrive a la cathedrale Notre Dame juste en temps pour le commence d'un service Vespre. J'ai regarde l'eglise pendant le service est puis j'ai marche a Les Halles et j'ai dine. Quand j'ai arrive a mon hotel, j'ai recontre ma autre roommate, aussi une fille du Afrique du Sud. Il etais un jour tres long. Demain je vais a visite le Musee du Louvre.

    Posted Jan 18 2006, 06:58 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • A change in schedule

    For the next two weeks, we'll be taking a break from your regularly scheduled blog posts so that I can bring you a first hand blog of my trip to Europe. This is my plan of course, since I've heard that the hotel in which I'm staying has wireless internet available in the lobby. Just as a run down for those of you who haven't heard much about my upcoming trip, I'm heading overseas for the first time in my life to get some real life language immersion in both French and Spanish. I'm departing Tallahassee, and after a brief jaunt to Charlotte and Philadelphia, I'll be jumping the pond to Paris. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me not to talk to strangers on this trip, I'd probably have enough money to upgrade to first class on my flights. Not talking to strangers really defeats the purpose of my entire trip. I need to get myself over there around a whole bunch of people who don't speak English as their first language and force myself to speak. I'll be in Paris for a little over a week before jumping on a train and heading down to visit my cousin Beth and her boyfriend Ruben in Barcelona. I'm going to see the Mediterranean!!! I can't really decide if I'm nervous or excited yet, but I'm sure I'll struggle with that all along the way. I've decided that the first big step is arriving and figuring out how to get to my hotel, and things will be just fine from there. I can't believe the number of people that I've talked to who exclaim incredulously, "oh!...you know French right? you can try and use some of that while you're there!" No?! You're joking?! I never considered that! More to come...
    Posted Jan 16 2006, 03:21 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Happy Birthday to Me!

    It's official...I'm so old. Today is the day that I turn 25. As my friends keep reminding me...that's a quarter of a century. My brother added that "three more times around, and I'll be 100". Thanks Rich! It wasn't quite a typical birthday this time around. I actually had a huge birthday party, but it was back in December before the fall semester let out. Today, I spent the day in a little place called Blountstown, Florida, for the wedding of one of my best friends from college. Johanna had made me promise nearly five years ago that I would sing at her wedding, and I thought that she might have forgotten about that, but about two months she reminded me of my commitment. I ended up singing two songs at the wedding, and things went well. I have to admit that I was a little nervous, owing to the fact that I don't really sing all that much any more. A few years back, I don't think that it would have phased me all that much, but I guess it went well. I heard from most everyone in my family throughout the day, wishing me a happy birthday and also a good trip this coming week to Europe. I heard a rumor that Johanna and Jon (her husband) had gone all over the place trying to get someone to make a bleeding armadillo birthday cake for me. That may sound strange, but if you've ever seen Steel Magnolias, you'd understand the significance. That was always one of mine and Johanna's favorite movies to watch, not to mention that it doesn't get more Southern of a wedding than this past weekend. Anyways....it's kind of funny that I don't really ever get all that excited about my birthday. I haven't been able to see my family on my birthday in about six years, since I've been down in Florida and classes have started or I've had to work. Hopefully, once I'm back in school full time, I'll possibly have an opportunity to head up to New York for my birthday at some point, depending on where I end up for grad school.
    Posted Jan 14 2006, 03:09 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Word of the Week - quincunx

    The word for this week is admittedly one that I already know, but I thought that I would share it with you all. There are only so many words that begin with Q out there. The word is quincunx, and I heard about it for the first time when I was in humanities class (a fancy name for talented and gifted) in 8th grade. Each of us in the class were assigned an area of humanities that we were in charge of bringing in to expose the rest of our classmates. My area was sociology....I know....how appropriate. Since it was talented and gifted, I decided to be "social" and still have everyone learn something, so I created a word of the day back then. (go figure, right?) It actually went over really well, thanks to our journals that we were required to keep. Each week, we would have to write a journal and we would get extra points for using the words of the week in them. It was a great system since, once you use a word a few times, it's yours to keep. I apparently used quincunx enough to remember what it was. A quincunx is a type of shape or design, more or less. Imagine a square....now put a tack in each of the four corners and one in the middle. The shape created by the tacks is the quincunx. This also works for rectangles. So...there's your new word....go make a quincunx out of something.
    Posted Jan 13 2006, 03:00 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Early Mayan Writing

    I found a great article at MSNBC.com last week about early Mayan writing. This subject is relatively close to my heart, since that's what Dr. J's specialty is all about. Some of you may not already know that, for a long time, formal Mayan writing was in hieroglyphics. It seems that many people associated hieroglyphics with Egypt, but they are actually found in several other places around the world. As far as this article says, previous thinking dated the earliest Mayan writing back to 100 B.C., but the newest discovery (in the same area where they found the previous "earliest" hieroglyphs) has been dated by an additional 150 years to 250 B.C. That may not seem like a long time, but it really is several more generations into the past. I've had the chance to learn a lot about the Mayan language since last spring when I started working with Dr. J. She and her husband are both Maya scholars who spent many years conducted field work in Mexico to record and characterize the indigenous languages of Mexico, many of which are Mayan. There are a lot of different groups that are considered to be Maya, all originally inhabiting areas in and surrounding the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, as well as the highlands of Guatemala. As an interesting side note, Dr. J. and her husband own a tour company that takes several trips down to Mexico each year to visit Mayan villages and ruins. If you're ever interested, try looking for Jaguar Tours in Tallahassee, Florida.
    Posted Jan 12 2006, 01:06 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • This week in Core

    I think that it would be best if, starting next week, I'm going to switch Language of the Week to Wednesday and put my class info appropriately on Mondays (so it can really be This week in Core). The first class of the semester...and what a doozy. Three hours of hanging out with anthropology kids (most of whom are archaeology majors) who really could care less about linguistics or language in general. I'm thankful that three of my pals from LIC are still in the class, but there are about twelve others who are not thrilled to be there. It's rather amusing because the four of us from LIC are able to answer most or all of the questions that Dr. J asks, but still we keep pretty quiet "to give the others a chance." All in all, it's a very strange dynamic at the moment, something that will hopefully melt away in the weeks to come. By that time, I'll probably continue to be the outsider that no one knows since I'll be gone for the next couple weeks on my trip. I apologize in advance that my blog will probably not stay fully updated while I'm gone on my trip. I hope that there is an internet caf´┐Ż near my hotel in Paris, because after practically living on the internet here, it's going to be rough to quit the net cold turkey. Oh yeah....back to class...it was all intro material and a strange movie. I'm sure that it will get more exciting though.
    Posted Jan 11 2006, 02:58 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • A bit about linguistics - Part 2

    One of the first things that drew me to linguistics was the idea about learning about language history. It probably stems from the fact that I was a geography nerd when I was a young kid and that I always really wanted to be able to travel, although my family rarely took many vacations. I first got interested in geography when I was maybe four or five when I got my first globe and my first dictionary that happened to have a section with flags of the world. I became really interested in being able to draw and color all the flags of the world. (my mother would probably add that I developed an obsession for crayola crayons that my brother always seemed to steal and break) I remember faintly back in 1st grade, bringing colored pictures of the flags that i was working on and telling my classmates that I was going to draw all the flags of the world. This geography nerd-dom continued through middle school where I represented New York State in the National Geographic Geography Bee on two separate occassions. My geography interest trailed off a bit when I started taking foreign language class, and the rest is history. So how does this relate to historical linguistics right? Well, my love of geography taught me to want to know about places and peoples and anywhere away from Syracuse, New York. I wanted to know what these people from other places spoke. This interest in historical linguistics has carried on until today, where now I have to really learn about it. We've talked a bit about some things that historical linguists do in earlier blog posts. Some historical linguists use the comparative method to construct proto-languages from bits and pieces of modern languages to learn what languages were like years ago. These researchers try to find how languages have descended and how they have changed over centuries. Sometimes it's easy...like tracking Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and all the smaller languages, from Latin. Other times it's not easy at all. Latin was an easy study because of a rich literary tradition and its presence in religion. Historical linguists also analyze and study linguistic isolates like Euskara (Basque), some languages of South America, and some languages of Papua New Guinea. The neat part is that historical linguistics draws upon the other linguistic concentrations to explain things along the way. It's hard to study linguistic history without delving into phonology, phonetics, morphology, discourse structure, and plenty of other things.
    Posted Jan 10 2006, 08:41 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Language of the Week - "F"

    It doesn't come much closer to language death then what I have to share with you this week and next on your Monday Language of the Week. The most current information that I can find from Ethnologue on Flinders Island (that's the language) is back from 1981, that listed the total population speaking the language to be three. If I had to venture a guess, I would have to say that it is very likely that those three were the eldest members of their tribe and likely have died with the last 25 years. The Flinders Island language is from the island (go figure) of the same name off the coast of northeastern Australia. Australian and North American indigenous languages have suffered a similar fate over the past several hundred years, as policies outlawing their use have been implemented and enforced, and only recently have these policies been replaced and revitalization efforts been started. It really is a shame to think that both these areas onced flourished with such diverse and unique languages as witnessed by a survey of surviving members of Native American and Aboriginal tribes. There is evidence that suggests that many languages have already died away and several others continue to do so. I can speak from personal experience, having had a full-blooded Mohawk great-grandmother, that it would have been very interesting and beneficial to have that language passed down through the generations. I'm sure that many others share my situation, as nearly everyone that I know can claim some bit of Native American in their bloodline. I suppose, however, that few really even consider what it means or what benefit knowing that culture or language could have had.
    Posted Jan 09 2006, 12:57 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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