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.