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!