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August 2006 - Posts

  • Visiting the library at IU

    I spent a brief time visiting heaven today in the form of the main library here at Indiana University. I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed at the massiveness of the place and all it had to offer. After Bambara class today, my new found pal Abby (the girl who is Bambara with me) and I decided that we would head up to the library and check it out. We had heard that the library had half of an entire floor devoted to African studies, as well as a complete floor devoted to languages and linguistics. It turns out that we heard correctly! We showed up at the library and quickly learned that, as graduate students, we had the opportunity to reserve study carrels on the floor of our choice for the year. In order to figure out which floor would be best, we decided to go on a library adventure and see what it had to offer. Our first stop was on the sixth floor at the African Studies collection. There were more materials on African history and politics than I had ever seen before. There were also hundreds of dissertations on the topic on the shelves. We looked around for the materials on languages and figured they must be elsewhere. We took the elevator up to the ninth floor and found ourselves in the promised land. Wall to wall, ceiling to floor language and linguistics books. I couldn't believe my eyes. We headed striaght for the African languages and were amazed at the amount of materials that we found. I found several books on Senari, and Abby looked for materials on Fulfilde (a language from northern Mali that she knows). We also found tons of information on Bambara. I gathered up lots of materials on Bambara to take home and decided that I wanted to have my study space on the ninth floor among all the linguistics greatness. I headed down to check out my materials and sign up for my spot. I then discovered another perk of being a graduate student. My books are not going to be due back to the library until January of next year! No more of this two week crap as an undergraduate at FSU. 120 days for faculty and graduate students here at IU. That is amazing if you ask me. The library also has copy, fax, and transpareny services, as well as six restaurants in the basement. There are classrooms, seminar rooms, and an open shelf reference floor. It just doesn't get much better. I'm sure that you'll be able to find my on the ninth floor quite often.
    Posted Aug 31 2006, 03:48 AM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • My first full day as a graduate student

    In my mind, yesterday served as an easy warm-up and reacclamation to the academic life, and today was the real thing. As luck would have it, my schedule has ended up blessing me with visiting all four of my classes on Tuesdays. Luckily, my one evening class is a seminar and only meets once a week, so I don't have to endure the same thing every Thursday. Today in Bambara was a lot more challenging than yesterday. Rather than easing into things, we jumped right into a lot of information. Things were split between English, French, Roman Bambara transcription, and the N'ko script of Bambara. The four of us in class were doing our best to keep our heads above water and write down as much as we could while our teacher continuously had us repeating after him and eliciting answers to questions from one another. My the end of the class, my teacher saw that it was becoming a little overwhelming for our first day of speaking and understanding any Bambara, so he let us out a few minutes early. We left knowing that tomorrow's class we be our official introduction to the N'ko script and the phonological system of Bambara. I headed over a few buildings to meet up with my fellow first years for phonology class. To our surprise, the class had expanded from the twelve members from last week that had signed up to twenty-seven. Apparently, the phonology class is a requirement for students in both the french linguistics program and the hispanic linguistics program, so we "regular" linguistics people now fall in the minority in the class. The group is extremely diverse, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out in the long run. I'm personally very excited about being in the class since I really do love the material. I didn't have to go very far for syntax...since it's immediately after phonology and in the same room. Although I'm a little frightened by the prospect of an entire semester on generative syntax, I feel like my professor is going to make it bearable and interesting. The class size is far smaller than phonology, so it feels a little more of an intimate classroom setting. It also helps that all the first years are also in this class, so there are people I know.

    After my afternoon break, I headed up to campus again for my final class of the day...the ethnography of communication. At this point, I can only make one fair comment, and that is that it is nothing how I imagined it to be. I found my professor to be very energetic and eager, so that's a definite plus for the class. My fear however is that the class is full of people who have little or no experience or interest in linguistics. I had imagined that the class would at least have some anthropological linguistics people in it, but alas there is just one. Pair him with myself from the linguistics department and one girl from French linguistics, and you're left with sixteen others who don't know much about the subject. It was a very awkward round-table classroom setting with plenty of periods of uncomfortable silence. My one moment of comfort came during our ten minute break when my professor approached me and asked me if I had had the opportunity to study with Kathryn Josserand, to which I replied in the affirmative. He offered his condolences and we chatted for a moment about my work with Dr J down at Florida State. At this point, I feel very up in the air about the class, and in all honesty, I came home to begin searching in the course bulletin for something else to take. I don't usually give up this easily, but I have an odd sensation that I'm taking a step backwards rather than moving forward in that classroom. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong. I'm very interested in the material that is to be covered and also what my professor has to say. It's just the others in the class that I'm worried about.

    Posted Aug 30 2006, 03:28 AM by christophergreen with 1 comment(s)
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  • N'ko

    Today was my official first day of graduate school at Indiana University, although it wasn't exactly a full day of classes. The way that my schedule has worked out, I only have one class for less than an hour on Monday and Wednesdays, and I don't even have a class on Fridays. My one and only class for today was Bambara, which of course, I was very excited about. I found my way to the classroom without too much trouble considering that it was in the biology building. I met the other three people in my class...two graduate students and one brave undergraduate, and then my teacher, a doctoral student in sociolinguistics and a native speaker of Bambara, showed up. Everyone in the class seemed very nice, and my teacher appeared very relaxed and soft-spoken. Bouba (my teacher) introduced us to the Bambara language with a little historical background about Mali and its people, as well as the many other places that Bambara and other languages closely related to it are spoken. The twist came when Bouba asked the four of us about in which script we would prefer to learn the language. Abby (the other FLAS fellow in the class) and I just looked at each other with surprise. Having both come from backgrounds in other West African languages, we weren't sure what he was talking about. As it turns out, scholars of many of the tonal Manding languages in West Africa have fairly recently developed a script in which to write the languages that does away with the traditional Roman-based phonetic symbols and instead employs an orthography with more of a likeness to Arabic than anything else. This script is called N'ko...and it sure looked scary when he showed it to us. The two other people in the class, who hadn't had any prior experience with reading an African language but rather speaking it, didn't seem to have any qualms about jumping into N'ko, but I think that Abby and I were a little frightened at first. As a class, we collectively decided to use N'ko rather than the Romanized script that our textbook was written in. I only wish that I could write something in this post in N'ko script to show you how ominous it looks. I discovered through some online searching that there are some interesting rules about the N'ko script, including how to deal with nasalization of vowels and how to handle vowel reduplication. Oh yeah...and it's written from right to about a change! Refusing to be defeated before I even got started, I decided to come home and learn the script one way or another before Tuesday's class. It took a few hours and plenty of practice, but I think that I'm pretty comfortable with it and ready to put my new found knowledge to use in class tomorrow.
    Posted Aug 28 2006, 08:41 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Treating myself to some knowledge

    In celebration of the generosity of the African Studies department here at Indiana University and my upcoming class on the ethnography of communication, I decided that I would treat myself to a few books that I've been wanting to buy from I don't feel bad at all spending my lovely fellowship money for these books because, after all, it's not like I'm buying Grisham or Dan Brown. I'm buying books that I've been waiting to purchase that have to do with linguistics. Among them are appropriately two books by Dell Hymes that I've been hoping to get for a while now. The thing about many of the best linguistics books is that they are often out of print for one reason or another. For that reason, they often end up being unavailable or very expensive. There are several that I've been tracking on amazon and they've gotten to a low enough price that I feel like I had purchase them without feeling too guilty. I ended up getting a copy of Foundations in Sociolinguistics and Language and Culture in Society, both by Dell Hymes, for under thirty dollars...something that anyone in the area would tell you is a definite steal. In addition to these two books, I also picked up a used copy of a book for my syntax class that my professor listed as optional. For just under three bucks for a used copy, I really couldn't refuse. The title sounds scary and like it has nothing to do with linguistics, An Introduction to Government and Binding Theory, but apparently is an easy read and isn't too confusing. I'm interested to see what it actually has to do with syntax. Nothing makes me happier than buying new books to add to my ever-growing linguistics library, so today was definitely a fun day.
    Posted Aug 27 2006, 08:31 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Generative Phonology

    Yeah, I know, the title of this post sounds a little bit scary, but alas it's really not so bad. Yesterday during orientation, we were introduced to the whole linguistics faculty and among them (of course) was the professor who will be teaching our phonological analysis class. In the midst of his introduction, he let all of us who are going to be in his class know that the syllabus for the class is already posted online and that we have a homework reading assignment to be completed for class on Tuesday. Although it's really not a big deal that we have "pre"-homework, we all had a bit of a laugh about it. Luckily, I've already purchased by text for the class, so I thought that I would sit down today and check out what the introduction had to say. Although I haven't really had any exposure to the generative theory of phonology, I have had quite a bit of experience with phonological and phonetic structuralism. While reading through the introduction, I could immediately see the Chomskyan influence of the generative model, but I also saw the vestiges of the earlier non-Chomskyan work as well. Chomsky's Universal Grammar idea was introduced, along with what Kentsowicz (the author of our text) calls "Plato's Problem". It attempts to explain why the empiricist ideas of Plato filtered into the more mentalist approach of Chomsky, due to the fact that humans are able to know things innately that they have not experienced (i.e. the grammar of their language). The introdution explained a lot about the differences between phonology and phonetics, as well as a concept called phonetic illusion. Phonetic illusion basically states that native speakers of a language will perceive identical sound stimuli differently due to the fact that they have associated these sounds with various meanings. This idea came about it Sapir's 1933 article The Psychological Reality of Phonemes. I happen to have the Mendelbaum book Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in which the article has been republished, so I got to read a little bit deeper into the idea and see the examples of phonetic illusion that Sapir had given from his research. Just in the brief thirty or so pages that I read between the two books, I realized how great it is going to be to get into some new concepts and theories, as well as to revisit old ideas in much greater detail. Of course, I feel this way about phonology because I'm a big fan of the subject, so I hope I develop the same inspiring feelings about syntax.

    Posted Aug 26 2006, 05:43 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • It's the Big Day! Indiana Linguistics Orientation

    Ladies and gentlemen, the day that I've been waiting for for so long has finally arrived. Today, I attended my first official function as a member of the Indiana University linguistics department. I know that it sounds a little bit 'last minute', but today we had our orientation, during which the eight first year students got a chance to meet all the linguistics faculty and many of the other graduate students and get our official welcome from everyone. Although I was pretty nervous going into things, I quickly learned that everyone is very nice, laid back, and willing to offer a smile and some friendly advice if it's needed. The day kicked off with the pre-orientation meeting hosted by the Indiana University Linguistics Club, or the IULC. We met the officers or the club and our mentors (well, not me, my guy didn't show up), and we got to ask lots of questions and learn about the department and what the IULC is all about. After that meeting was over, we headed next door to Ballatine Hall for the official orientation meeting. I met some really cool people who are fellow first years, so we all hit it off, and rightfully so, since we'll all be seeing alot of each other in our core classes over the next two years. I met five people who have a background in French, so I think that we'll likely be getting together to have some French time at some point. I also met a girl named Abby who will be in every one of my classes, since she and I are both first year and FLAS African studies folks who are taking Bambara. I think that it will be great to have someone that I know in my class to practice speaking with. There will only be four people in that class, so it's going to be personalized and intense without a doubt. After the meeting had finished, I walked over to the Bloomington version of Kool Grindz (the Copper Cup) and had my old standby, an iced vanilla latt´┐Ż, and chatted with some of my fellow classmates. Later during the afternoon, I headed down to Bryan Park for the traditional IULC pre-semester picnic. It was a great turnout, with all the new first years and many of the faculty in attendance. I met lots of new people, and it was amazing to be in the company of so many linguists all at once. It was a great "first day", and I'm looking forward to the official first day of class this coming Monday.
    Posted Aug 26 2006, 03:58 AM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Hello Bambara!

    One of the beautiful things about having registered for classes and having gotten a campus access card is that after that point, you can buy books for classes. I was anxious to finally see what specific books would be required for my classes so that I could try and determine what the work load is really going to be like. I don't think that I've ever formally written down what my classes are for the semester, so here they are: Phonological Analysis, Syntactic Analysis, Beginning Bambara, and Seminar on the Ethnography of Communication. They are nailed down and in stone with the blessing of my advisor Dr O. With my classes decided on, I headed up to one of the two bookstores on the IU Bloomington campus in the midst of freshman move-in day to brave the crowds and get my books. Number one priority on the list was my Bambara book, since I've been waiting for months and months just to see what this language actually looks like. I decided against my better judgement to hit up the bookstore in Eigenmann hall. Why was it against my better judgement you ask?...the store is in the basement of the dorm. It was surprisingly not too busy and I was able to find quickly what I needed...with the exception of my Bambara book. Apparently they were "sold out", which I explained to the girl working there was impossible, since there are only four people in the class. Nonetheless, the book was not there, but my two books for phonology were, along with the five I need for my ethnography of communication seminar. There was also one book listed for the syntax class, but it wasn't required, so I'm going to get it on Amazon for probably two dollars. I was able to credit my textbook purchase directly to my bursar account, and I was done and ready to hoof it over to the other bookstore at the Indiana Memorial Union. To my surprise (again) it was another quick in and out at the IMU bookstore. They had my Bambara book, and I was all set to go. At my first flip through the book, I have to admit that I was a little frightened. It looked pretty difficult, but once I got to sit down with it and actually read through some things, I realized that it's not going to be so bad. The thing that made it appear difficult was the orthography that is used for the language in the book. Rather than using the standard IPA (international phonetic alphabet) symbols for standard sounds (like open 'e' and open 'o'), the book uses what look like acute accents. Having studied Senari for the last fifteen months, my brain sees these markings and thinks "high tone" rather than "open vowel". As if that wasn't confusing enough, the two tones in Bambara are distinguished (in this publication) by the placement of an underscore below the syllable of low tone. Again, from Senari, I'm used to seeing acute and grave accents on syllables to denote tone. I guess that once I get the hang of the notation, it won't be so bad, but at the moment, it's acting as a handicap. I'm also hesitant to attempt to pronounce the words, because although I can probably reproduce the sounds with some accuracy, I want to hear my instructor speak first to hear how the tones work in the sequence of words. In the time before class begins on Monday, I'm going to attempt to at least learn some of the basic grammar that will be taught throughout the book. That should give me enough of a start so I can successfully keep my head above water in the first few days of class.
    Posted Aug 24 2006, 11:43 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Graffiti Discourse

    Day by day, I get more excited about starting classes next week. It's not just the classes's everything that comes along with the beginning of my graduate school experience. I'm excited to start making plans for what kind of research I'd like to do and where I'd like to do it. In order to help me out in getting mentally prepared for starting in the linguistics department, my advisor, Dr O, gave me some materials to read that he had written, including an article that he had published several years ago. The article was very interesting, as it explored the consideration of graffiti as discourse to express political and social commentary in Ghana. For those of you who don't remember, the specialization that I would like to go into is called language policy. Language policy has a lot to do with the attitudes that exist towards languages in a particular area and how they can affect the government, education, and society. The particular area of language policy that I've expressed an interest in is language maintenance and revitalization and what affect language attitudes have these processes, but I'm very open to exploring anything that this area of study has to offer. The work that Dr O has done is great to read because it focuses on these language attitudes and it serves to give me an idea of the kind of work that can be done and the type of research that needs to be completed for a successful publication. There were a few things in particular that I read about in Dr O's article that run along the lines of things that I'd like to consider for further research in my area. I'd like to explore varying attitudes toward the imposed colonial language and how they are affecting the success (or creation) of native language education and literacy programs. I would also consider looking into the status given to the varying native languages in an area and how interethnic rivalries or conflict are hindering the same native language education and literacy programs. These are, of course, just thoughts off the top of my head at the moment, and I'm sure that over the next while of attending classes, going to talks and seminars, and meeting with various professors, I'll start to narrow down my specific focus. I've always been told that it's very wise to tackle a specific problem or a particular question when doing advanced research, and one of the most important consideration that I'll have to deal with is where exactly I want to focus my linguistics efforts. It's scary to think that they might be focused in Mali in the future, since I'm just now going to be starting to work on their most widely spoken language, Bambara. I've also spent a lot of time working on Senari, so I have the Ivory Coast as a possibility too. For once though, I can say that I'm not worried about making these decisions too quickly, because...hey...I've got plenty of time and lots to learn.
    Posted Aug 23 2006, 12:54 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Blessings in disguise

    I'm going to have to take back all the bad thoughts that I was having about the registration process here at IU. This school has really got it together when it comes to how to deal with students, both new and old. As you all know, I finally registered for my classes yesterday, and as a result, the money that was supposed to be coming to me in the form of financial aid started to be processed. We all know that that is a very very good thing! Something showed up in my bursar account that I did not expect though. After I had registered for classes, something called a FLAS fee remission all the sudden showed up for this semester and for the spring. Being not quite sure what it was all about, I called the bursars office and asked one of their helpful people what it was all about. She explained to me that, since I was the recipient of the FLAS, the money that was in my financial aid profile previously was a stipdent(!!!) and not my total amount that I would be getting from the African Studies department. It took me a moment, but it finally clicked...the FLAS fee remission was them paying for my classes and fees and that other money really is a stipend! What an amazing turn of events! The woman at the bursars office instructed me to contact financial aid, because I now have an unnecessary loan that is going to be credited to my account. The moral of the story is...I'm going to school for free! I don't know if I'm just stupid and didn't read the fine print, but I don't recall ever reading about getting a stipend before. But lo and behold, I went to the African Studies page and read about the FLAS fellowships, and there it is...plain as day...fee remission, tuition, insurance, and a stipend. I'm now all the more excited about starting classes next week. I have to admit that I'm sort of in shock about it. It's dumbfounding to have a large sum of money unexpectedly thrown in your lap, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!
    Posted Aug 22 2006, 03:10 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Finally registered

    One of the benefits of meeting new people around you is that you have the ability to combine bits and pieces of what each of you have heard and come out with the truth. Today, I met my next door neighbors in my apartment complex, Lisa and David, who are both starting their graduate studies at Indiana, just as I am. Lo and behold, they are both in the African American and Diaspora Studies department, which happens to be one floor below the linguistics department in Memorial Hall on the IU campus. They are also going to be taking some classes in the African Studies Institute, just like I am. It was exciting to meet a few new people and hear about their particular stories and interests and what they'll be doing at IU. Incidentally, David is from Ghana and is a native speaker of Twi, which is really cool. Anyways, while we were chatting in the hallway, the subject was moved to registration, as we were all expressing our frustration over the whole process. Lisa said that she had heard from someone in her department that the whole "not being able to register until the 24th" thing was a crock, so she tried and was able to register. Well, well, well...look at that. All this time I've been waiting to register after I had my advising, and I could have gone ahead and gotten into my classes. So, I was hesitant at first, and attempted to call the department to check in with either our registrar or with my advisor, but no luck. So, trying to be smart about it, I decided to go ahead and register, since three of my four classes are for sure. I even signed up for my seminar in the ethnography of communication class, and luckily there was just one seat left, and I got it! If for some reason Dr O decides that he doesn't want me to take the class, I can always just drop it right?! I was very excited to finally get that taken care of, and I was glad to see that my financial aid in my bursar account immediately kicked in once I was registered...and thank the good lord for that! After I registered, I was able to run downtown and get my parking pass and my campus access card...the IU version of a student ID. Things are slowly but surely coming together!
    Posted Aug 21 2006, 02:46 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Adjusting my frame of mind

    I made an exciting transition today when I sat down to start reading through some of the articles that my advisor/professor gave me that he has written. I realized that it would no long suffice to just read through articles for the purpose of learning the information or to write a review on it, but rather I need to train myself to think more critically and to ask valid questions about what about the work interests me and how the work could potentially relate to something that I would like to explore further in the future. Realizing that I have to make that step is both exciting and scary...exciting because it means that I'm finally going to be starting doing what I want to in graduate school, but scary because it means that I have to grow up. Back at Florida State, although I had been taking graduate level classes over the past year and a half, when it really came down to it, those classes weren't counting towards any official progress or degree. They were classes that I was taking for my own benefit and to better myself before graduate school. I did well in the classes and learned a lot, but it was slightly lower pressure. Now that I'm up here at IU, I have to really make that transition to serious study. Of course I already knew that I would be doing that, and I'm ready and willing to do so. However, not until today when I started reading the first article did it really hit me...this is the real deal. I wonder what it's going to be like starting next monday. I found out that there are only nine new graduate students in the entire linguistics department, and there are somewhere around sixty graduate students all together. Who knows how many undergraduate kiddies will be running around?! Later this week, we will have the first Indiana University Linguistics Club (IULC) meeting to discuss what it's all about and what it is that we're supposed to do. We then have a graduate mentor meeting, the formal linguistics department orientation, and then the IULC annual "get to know you" picnic. There are also some non-linguistics-related things to attend as well, including a library orientation, graduate school of arts and sciences welcome, and a wine and cheese welcome reception for African studies. It's going to be a busy rest of the week!
    Posted Aug 20 2006, 02:33 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Tackling pronouns

    I spent the majority of my day today with my nose stuck in a book. It wasn't the leisurely kind of Saturday with one's nose stuck in a book, lounging on the couch, reading a novel though. Instead, it was more of a sit at the dining room table with a book of French grammar and hope that what you're reading is going to stick thing. At least I was able to keep the Law and Order SVU marathon going in the background. My big French grammar task that I accomplished today was getting through all the detailed rules about the different types of pronouns and how they are used. Subject pronouns, direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, demonstrative pronouns (and adjectives) well as the definite and indefinite forms of all articles and interrogatives. It's quite a task to keep that all straight. I think that the difficulty lies in the fact that, when you're speaking, you just say what needs to be said, but when you write things down, you're actually faced with what it looks like and what is the proper way to do things. Something that I had never really given much thought to was the proper order of the various pronouns in a sentence where they're all needed. I read today about the hierarchy of the different pronouns and where they should be placed in relationship to one another. It's a four-level hierarchy that makes sense after you look at it for a few moments that explains which pronouns precede others and how to treat the necessity of multiple pronouns. Group one is me, te, se, nous, vous, se. Group two is le, la, les. Group three is lui, leur. and Group four is y, en. You can then see how in a sentence like "Je te la raconte." (I am telling it to you), the group one pronoun comes before the group two pronouns, even though they are the indirect object and direct object, respectively. However, if I were going to say "I am telling it to him", the French would be "Je la lui raconte" because 'lui' is a group three pronoun, bringing the pronoun order to DO then IO. One of the important rules in this four-level hierarchy involves the relationship between the group one and group three pronouns. Pronouns from these two groups cannot be together, and if a sentence calls for them, the group three pronoun must come in sentence final position. For example "Je vais te conduire a lui" (I'm going to take you to him), you can see that the first group pronoun comes before the main verb and the group three pronoun comes in final position. It's the tricky stuff like this that makes learning a language in its entirety a difficult task. These are the things that native speakers just learn how to do without giving a second thought. Non-native speakers, on the other hand, have to take a few moments and learn the hows and whys about the language.
    Posted Aug 19 2006, 02:48 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Je suis...I am or I follow?

    As you probably already know from reading my last several posts in my linguistics blog, I've been getting back to my French over the past few weeks. I spent a good deal of time reading from my French books while I was home in New York, and I've continued to do some more detail-oriented studying now that I'm back in Bloomington. I've spent the first two days that I've been back hitting up my 501 French verbs book, because I think that it's a good place to start reviewing. The book not only allows you to see hundreds of fully conjugated verbs, but it also shows you the principle parts of each verb and gives examples of related vocabulary as well as sentences that contain the verb in various forms. What many people don't learn about the 501 series books is that they actually contain hundreds more verbs in the back that are not fully conjugated. It's a great quick reference guide if you're having problems remembering or recalling just what verb it is that you want to use. Another helpful part about the 501 series is the addition of more familiar forms of the verbs, as well as colloquialisms that use the verbs in the book. Most of us don't ever get to the point with a foreign language that we are comfortable enough to make use of the colloquialisms of a native speaker, but it doesn't hurt to be familiar with some of the more popular or widely-used ones so as to not get lost in a conversation or exchange.

    The next step in my French review is going to step right into the tough stuff. I bought a French reference grammar quite a while ago to use when I was working on the discourse structure of French fables with Dr Josserand. It also came in handy when comparing the argument structure of Senari to that of English and French. I think that it's better to have the standard rules written down in one place for a reference than to go digging around in a bunch of different sources looking for something that you need clarification on.

    I'm sad to report that the part of French review that I really need is just conversation practice. I used to be really good, but over the past several years, with the lack of someone to practice with, I'm a little slow on the uptake. I'm still very confident in my abilities relating to the French language, but I wish I had a "French buddy" to talk with on a regular basis. I'm sure that once classes get started, there will likely be someone (or several someones) around that will surely fit the bill. Until then, I'll continue to review and recall the crazy details of French to get myself ready.

    Posted Aug 18 2006, 08:05 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Glad to be home in Bloomington

    I know it had only been a week since I left Bloomington to hang out in Syracuse, but I was definitely glad to return to the "oasis in southern Indiana", as I've heard it called. I had only lived in B-town a week when I left, so I was still in the middle of unpacking and getting settled, so now that I've gotten back, I've resumed all that type of stuff. I still don't really have a desk for my room, which has left me with piles of paperwork and other random things strewn about in my room. My desk is the last major purchase that needs to happen, since we've already bought bookshelves, a console table, a desk for Michael's room, and a dining room table and chairs. Although I really don't have a ton of thins that I really have to be doing, I know that it is in my best interest to keep my somewhat busy. This is pretty easy to do as I'm studying and reviewing all my French things for my exemption test. I've found that it's very easy to sit in front of the television watching the Law and Order: SVU and CI marathons and still successfully study French verbs and vocabulary. I thought about going downtown to either Soma or the Runcible Spoon, two great coffee shops, to do some work, because I'm not sure if I can get into the main IU campus library without an student identification card. That, of course, goes back to the registration issues, since first time students are not allowed to get their student ID until they have registered for class. That means no library, no bus system, and no going to the gym. I do have some more "serious" work to do one of these days before things get crazy in orientation week. Dr O sent me home with some materials to read when I left our advising session so that I could get an idea of his work. I'm anxious to read his paper, but I've put it off until I can find some quiet time and space to spread out and read and take notes. Perhaps now that I've got a dining room table, I can make that work.
    Posted Aug 17 2006, 02:05 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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  • Day of Travel # 3

    It went by so quickly, but my week in Syracuse came to a close today. I got up early and started out on the road back to Bloomington after stopping to meet a coworker of my aunt's who is in the process of moving to a town between B-town and Indianapolis because his wife is starting graduate school at IU. He was a very nice guy, and I got his cell number and email address so that we can perhaps get together for lunch or dinner in Bloomington at some point in the future. Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to another eleven hour car ride, but this was the easiest one so far. I made great time, averaging between 67 and 68 miles per hour the whole time...even through Ohio, the state of the perpetual construction zone. On the way, I even stopped in Buffalo, home of my roommate Michael, to buy him some famous Antoinette's sponge's his favorite, and you can only get it in Buffalo. I only stopped twice, and I made it into Bloomington at around 7:30 or so. I was extremely glad to be back and to sit and relax on my own couch in my own house...and most importantly to sleep in my own bed. I have a lot of things to catch up on since I've been gone this week. There are plenty of school things that I could have been reading and studying, but I am glad that I took that week to head up home and just do whatever I wanted for a while. I can't remember the last time that I took a vacation where I didn't have a set schedule. It was definitely long overdue.
    Posted Aug 16 2006, 01:59 PM by christophergreen with no comments
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