Thursday, September 30, 2004
Curious person: "How long does it take to learn and analyze a language?"
Linguist: "Oh, anywhere from 7 to 46 years."
Anyway, the exam is finished. I whipped up smoothies for dinner as Rob and I both wanted to keep working through. We both had freaky dreams last night. I dreamed that Eminem was my discourse analysis teacher. Rob dreamed that his computer was stolen by a mechanic who had tried to rip him off on a repair bill the day before. Actually, the mechanic didn't succeed in getting the computer. Rob tied him up with duct tape and tried to figure out what the culturally appropriate thing to do with him would be (he was living crossculturally at the time). There must have been MSG in the boneless wings we had for lunch yesterday.
In other news, just noticed that Vioxx is being pulled from the market for causing a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Mind you, there has been some evidence that this was the case since August of 2001! As I have some people who are dear to me that have taken Vioxx and have developed cardiovascular conditions, that gets my back up. I've always had a bad feeling about Vioxx, mostly because I remember the week it was introduced to the market in my hometown.
Dad and Mom were in Jamaica and Dad had hired someone to be pharmacist at our pharmacy while he was out of town. As I often did when Dad was gone, I was helping out in the dispensary, counting pills, helping customers and other assistant type things. One afternoon, a pretty woman in her 20's (and a short skirt) stopped by the dispensary to speak with Dad. I explained that he was out of town. She gave me a bundle of promotional material to give him when he returned. I glanced through the stack of glossy pages; promotional material for a new arthritis pain-med called Vioxx. In the next week and a half, we filled more prescriptions for Vioxx than just about any other medication. I remember thinking that it was pretty freaky how something that wasn't available just the week before was suddenly something that the doctors felt everybody needed.
After throwing dozens of little white Vioxx bottles with blue caps away, having transferred their contents to standard prescription vials, I decided to find a use for them. It just seemed insanely wasteful; the bottles were pretty cute. I peeled off the Vioxx label, washed the bottles clean of Vioxx residue, got out a blue Sharpie and began to label the small bottles; cinnamon, cumin, dill, cloves, parsley ... to this day, my spices are kept in those little bottles.
Let's put a face on these Merck people, shall we?
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Navajo: tsenii - 'rock face'
Crow: kohkoseni - 'granite rock'
Kickapoo: atheny - 'rock'
Cree: asiniy - 'stone'
Blackfoot: asin - 'rock'
: asiniiwan - 'to be of rock'
Fun stuff, eh? It's great to have scads of language resources at my disposal when a linguistic curiousity strikes.
After practice, went home and made macaroni with cheese & tomato for dinner. Looking at the pot after dinner reminded me of why I may have given up making it in the first place. It certainly wasn't the flavor ... yum! I found that scrubbing with my fingertips under hot water was actually the most effective method of getting the cooked-on cheese off. Involving a dishcloth seems to just provide you with a very cheesy dishcloth that is then unusable for any other dishes. We watched an episode of 'Friends' while we ate dinner. The plotline involved Joey auditioning for a part in a TV series called 'Mac & C.H.E.E.S.E.'; hmmmm ... coincidence? Or providence?
Rob had the first half of a phonology midterm as a take-home last night. I finished my analysis of a dialogue paragraph from the 3 little pigs and started to do the same with Jude. I had gotten stuck on my term paper at the charting level and wasn't feeling confident in my chart results, at least not enough to make any grand statements about macrosegmentation, given my lack of knowledge of Greek. However, the tree-diagram I'm making of the paragraphs, working with the sentences as a whole, is showing a lot of paired embedded paragraphs that I hadn't noticed before. I'm thinking that this section of the analysis process may give me the comprehension boost I need for me to go back and reassess my charts. We'll see.
*Most people have heard me explain that my name is Montagnais so you may wonder why I am now using the term 'Innu'. Well, upon visiting the website that bears my name, I discovered that the Innu people do not call themselves Montagnais, that was an external tag. Makes sense; it's French.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Am about to work on a design for the class T-shirt, due by this afternoon. Will post the design when it's finished.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
I found out that they've sprayed twice in the last week for mosquitos in Duncanville because they found a West Nile carrying mosquito. I guess I should check the Dallas mosquito spraying updates periodically to make sure I'm not basking in the toxins unwittingly. Gak. As if the air pollution wasn't bad enough. Part of me doesn't even want to know the ingredients and effects of those sprays.
I read a disturbing history of U.S. involvement in Haitian government in a New African periodical. In the same, I came cross an interview with Nujoma, of Namibia.
Quote of the day:
'There are many ways to kill a cat, by giving it whatever it likes.' - Nujoma
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I spent the better part of the afternoon doing my discourse analysis homework and made chili for dinner. I'm currently tossing through a load of laundry while Rob continues with his homework. Wishing that we could be spending a little more time doing things together. I got up with him at 6AM to sit by the pool and read about verb chaining and switch-reference while he swam (rules about not swimming alone) but somehow I don't think that counts as "together time". Weekend ... hasten thee to my environs!
In other news; National Geographic August 2004, which I just found in the laundry room and have flipped through has a fascinating article on the placebo effect being on par with the medication/procedure being tested.
So, 'America's Next Top Model' premieres tonight and we don't get UPN11 here without cable. Not that I would ever get cable just to watch ANTM. That seems excessive. But I caught all of the last 2 seasons. Perhaps by the time we end up based back in Seattle for our support-raising time (where UPN11 is available without cable), they'll be rerunning it. Then, I'll have more time to enjoy it and it'll all be fresh to me. Still, it's hard to imagine Tyra doing a season without my faithful viewerness.
Laundry done ... blog over.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Having a pretty good day today. I attended an academic talk on the difference between hortatory and persuasive discourse types, presented by my D.A. teacher, Dr. Hwang. I made curried lentils for lunch and ate it hastily before going to the talk. I just got back from the library where I discovered that someone has already done a discourse analysis of Jude. However, it looks like Osborn isn't referencing any of the terminology used by Longacre's method so I'm wondering if it's even related to discourse analysis as I have come to know it. Longacre isn't cited in the biblio for this article, nor seems there to be any other discourse analysis texts. Must give the article a better read tonight to be sure I don't replicate someone else's work. I finished charting Jude yesterday so I should be able to draw some conclusions by doing my colorcoding today or tomorrow. It is possible that I will come to an entirely different conclusion than Carroll D. Osborn as to what the macrosegmentation of the text should be and what the macrostructure of the text is, based on surface structures.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
- a portrait of true fear
- when a baby in and of itself isn't cute enough
- gorgeous, yet oddly disturbing
- bizarre treat for squirrel afficianados
- a debate on the national betrayal involved in choosing Starbucks over Tim Horton's; frankly, I'm torn ...
- an answer to the urban legend about nicotine being added to Tim Horton's coffee
- Jimi Hendrix lauds Phil Keaggy?
This is hilarious. "In me own words: the autobiography of Bigfoot". Written by a Canadian, Graham Roumieu ... oh yeah!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I've really been getting into something that looks like it will be worthwhile but challenging and time consuming. In my discourse class, I have the option of doing either a term paper or a final exam. I originally thought that I might just do the final exam, for simplicity's sake. The term paper is more an option for those who are currently working with a language project and have immediate need for the discourse analysis skills that we're learning. I don't actually have a project that I'm working on but I do have something that I've been curious about for a while: The Message paraphrase of the Bible.
Here's how The Message promo describes it:
But more than that, it was meant to be understood. It was first written in the language of the people—of fishermen, shopkeepers, and carpenters. The Message gets back to that: You can read it and understand it. In The Message Remix, there are new verse-numbered paragraphs that will help you study and find favorite passages. Or, you can just read it like a book and let the narrative impact you. After all, it is God’s story, with its heroes and villains, conflicts and resolutions. Either way, it’s God’s Word—the Truth—in a user-friendly form.
The promo states that it is useful for 2 things: studying favorite passages and being impacted through narrative reading. I have had bad vibes about relying on passages in The Message as accurate representations of the source text, in terms of either notional or surface. However, my vibes have been largely unsubstantiated. Suddenly, after reading Longacre's analysis of 1 John, I see a method for discerning whether this is actually the case. If it is a narrative, then it has peaks. The peaks, whether they are action or didactic, should correspond to those in the source text (Greek) but represented in the peak structures of the language of translation (English).
Finally, I may put to rest my itching suspicions, one way or another. Is it the conspiracy theorist in me that responds to this paraphrase or the global observationist? As long as the quest doesn't become overwhelming in its scope, this may be my season to answer that question.
Along those lines, I have done an initial clause-charting of Jude, in The Message form. I am stymied in my participant referent color-coding by verses 22-23: are the "they" in these verses the same "they" referred to in the entirety of the preceding text? Jude gives pretty scathing descriptions of the "some people" (v4) throughout the letter. He describes what their plan is (v4). He gives the historical examples of that type of person which precede this current type; the fallen angels (v6) and Sodom and Gomorrah (v7). He outlines their sin-systems (v8, 10, 12, 16, 18-19). He even paints a sad metaphorical picture of them (end of v12). Can it be that, at the end, Jude reorients the reader to these "some people" by instructing us in a Christian approach to "them", despite their aforementioned sins and character flaws? At this, my first look at Jude in The Message from a discourse perspective, it appears that the ba-dam-ching (it's a technical term, really) occurs after the phrase "but not soft on sin" (v23). All preceding text provides supporting evidence for that conclusion. Just a theory. I'm working on it.
I'd love to hear any perspectives on this.
Monday, September 13, 2004
We've started a new section in discourse analysis, one involving predication relations. It looks like stuff from the logic class (I think this is the one ... long time ago) I took in 1993 but with attention to grammatical constituents (noun phrase, adjuncts, verbs) as well as the logical thrust of the sentence as a whole.
I couldn't find a picture online of Robert E. Longacre (the guy who wrote our main text and put discourse analysis on the linguistic map) but I did find a picture of one of his books:
Sunday, September 12, 2004
After the service, we went to Grace's home (along with many church members) for Korean food. Korean BBQ and kim chi ... yum! And we ate it with rice, rolled in sesame leaves. I didn't even know you could eat sesame leaves!
Friday, September 10, 2004
Woohoo! The Discourse Analysis mid-term that I had this morning went great! There was only one question that I absolutely did not know the answer for (I couldn't remember what was mitigated in hortatory discourse - I filled in the blank with an "argh!"; that may be the answer, actually). There was also one that I was unsure of the answer (why knowledge of peak is useful in discourse analysis) but, upon discussing answers with fellow students after class, I think I got the general idea. A few of the questions asked for just 3 or 4 aspects of something for which I knew most or all of them so, as time allowed, I threw them in at the end of the space allowed for answering questions. Hopefully that will pad any holes in my basic answers of the questions. For example, Dr. Hwang asked about features of language that are not adequately addressed by basic grammatical analysis but need to be explained in relation to discourse features. She was looking for 3 or 4 areas but I know them all. So, I gave the few and wrote a bunch more.
I have secret tricks for studying that I used extensively in preparation for this exam.
- Reduce as much information as possible to list form.
- In red, underline the key trigger words in each list item.
- Develop a mnemonic device (e.g. a poem, acronym, substituted sentence based on the acronym) for the really big lists.
Here are some of my lists and devices, to illustrate my method:
Question: What are some areas in which discourse analysis is necessary?
- The List
- articles and deictics
- pronoun use
- verb morphology: tense-aspect-mood
- deviation from standard word order
- adjuncts: optional? location and time give motion and flow
- adverbial clauses: discourse cohesion
- sequence signals and conjunctions
- nominalization and topicalization
- variation in reported speech forms
- length of syntactic units
- mystery particles and affixes
- The Red
articles and deictics
verb morphology: tense-aspect-mood
deviation from standard word order
adjuncts: optional? location and time give motion and flow
adverbial clauses: discourse cohesion
sequence signals and conjunctions
nominalization and topicalization
variation in reported speech forms
length of syntactic units
mystery particles and affixes
"When the talking and walking but being quiet has ended, he stands as Billy stood; in fancy pants, against the wall." Said she, "Oh, for true, eh?"
My mnemonic for Discourse types is a sentence: To Narrate someone's Behavior is the Procedure to Expose them.
Another mnemonic that I used was a poem which referenced all the possible features that might mark a Peak Episode:
- Blaow! Faster, bigger, crowded, eh?
- Yesterday becomes today
You to I, they to she
- I look like you, it was seen by me
- and this, but that, asyndeton comma
- narra - pseudo - dia - drama
- Less repeating but more repetition?
- An episode in Peak Condition.
This, of course, makes sense to nobody but me. It doesn't need to. Rob wouldn't even let me use my mnemonics out loud when I was studying because he had a final exam in Phonetics this morning. He was afraid he'd be asked to write the technical name for a phonetic sound and the only thing that would come to his mind in that time of crisis would be "fancy pants".
Thursday, September 09, 2004
presentation on Robert E. Longacre's discourse analysis of 1 John in the
morning. I spent the afternoon preparing a reading report for Discourse
Analysis. The evening was spent on household tasks (dinner prep,
compiling receipts for LBT) and giving Rob a hand with his lesson plan
preparation. We tried to get an early bedtime but still managed to fall
in after 11PM. Energy low this week; everything seems to take longer
than I expect.
Today's task is preparation for my midterm tomorrow. I have my notes compiled and I'm going to check them against the study questions we were given, make sure I can match knowledge base to questions asked. I'm working tonight so I need to have everything set and printed before I leave home at 3:45PM to get to worship team practice. I won't get home until 10PM after that.
I cooked enough chili last night to last us for a few days. There are a
few days of pinto beans as well. Bulk cooking; the grad student's
Quote of the day:
Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Then, if he gets mad, you're a mile away and you've got his shoes.
Monday, September 06, 2004
After church, we hurried back to the apartment to change out of our
'Sunday best' for the All Africa Diaspora Market being held across the street at
the International Museum of Cultures. I was thinking we could grab food
there that would not only be nourishing but interesting. Rob got a
smoked brisket sandwich (Texan) and I got some meat-on-a-stick with a
side of boiled corn-and-greens-in-a-lump (African). I was surprised when
I tasted Rob's sandwich: it was smoked salt beef! Good grief ... all the
sodium and all the smoky carcinogens a person could ever want, rolled up
in a white bread wrapper, soaked in barbecue sauce. Need I say more? I
enjoyed my sticked meat but had to put a bunch of hot sauce on the
corn/greens combo. I don't know what those greens were but they didn't
taste like any greens I'd had before. Not spinach, cabbage, turnip,
collard ... maybe kelp. I have very little experience with kelp.
It seemed like the festival was mostly composed of vendors of touristy
items and 3 food stalls so we didn't stick around long. The schedule
reported a concert later so I thought, "Hey ... African music! Let's
come back!" We returned at/around 4PM and went inside the museum. We
were directed to a back room which looked primarily like it was used for
storage but was occasionally repurposed for other events with rows of
chairs, a TV/VCR combo and a podium with an attached microphone.
Scattered about were pieces of old exhibits, some nailed on the wall,
others stacked horizontally near the rafters. As it turns out, the
concert was Norman Fisher, a soprano saxophonist, performing jazz to an
accompaniment track. Rob and I sat with maybe 6 other people for the
first few songs. Norman asked at one point if there were other jazz
musicians in the crowd. I didn't respond until he asked about jazz
singers. He offered me the opportunity to join him. I explained that I
had been coughing all week. He responded that he had as well. I said I
didn't know the words to the songs. He said that he was about to do
"Satin Doll". Well. I could hardly say no to that.
I went to the podium. Norman switched on the mike. I realized as the
backing track began that it was a little low for my range, that I hadn't
warmed up, that I couldn't remember all the lyrics as clearly as I
thought I might have been able to. But I began when my time came
nonetheless. It was a good time. Surreal (singing about a pickup
scenario as the male protagonist on the grounds of Wycliffe property
from behind a podium under fluorescent lighting) but good.
Friday, September 03, 2004
Here's my freaky story for today: During chapel, I was heavily using the essential oils I was carrying around to help my breathing and the little sinus headache that was developing. I alternated between several blends, including peppermint, rosemary, lemon, clary sage, rose, eucalyptus and pine oils. At the end of chapel, while the back door was propped open, a hummingbird flew into the chapel and headed for the front, where I had been sitting. It went straight to the ceiling above where I had been sitting and bounced around against the ceiling above my chair in an area roughly 4 feet in diameter. As I am (as you well know) the ultimate source of the woes of the world, I assumed that my use of oils was to blame, that I had unwittingly lured this poor flower-essence seeker inside and trapped it against the oil-coated ceiling tiles between 2 oil-coated fluorescent lights. I took out my oils and attempted to lead the bird outside, all to no avail. As I left, those in charge of chapel activities and grounds were trying to whisk it away from the ceiling with a broom. I left before anything unseemly occurred. I'll have to check with them next week and find out what became of the wee thing. Most likely, it'll fatigue and come down from the ceiling. I tell myself that so I don't have to imagine it expiring from its efforts to escape.
My voice was a little better for singing this morning but I didn't use a mike, kept more to the backup. I focused on drumming instead.
Looking forward to sleep and regeneration this weekend. I have scads of reading to do and another Totonac charting project to tackle but I have to select a day off as well. Balance, as they say.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
I'm preparing songs for tomorrow morning's chapel. We rotate song selection opportunity among our worship team members and it's my turn this week. I have them selected and tabbed already, just need to get the photocopy access code for the chapel budget before I can be totally ready.
Tonight, I work at the library. Not really looking forward to vacuuming, as weak as I'm feeling. Maybe I can finagle Rob into helping; he's a good vaccuumer.
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