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Posts tagged phonology

Structuralist / Anastructuralist

What a ridiculously successful day.  I don’t even really know where to start.  I’m really tired, I should have gone to bed hours ago when I got tired, but I’ve been on such a roll, and there’s so much little stuff I could be getting done.  Lately it’s been seeming like I don’t need as much sleep as I need to get stuff done.  In other words, I’m getting physically exhausted before I get mentally worn out, which is a rarity.  I think this is probably good.

So there’s not actually that much to report from the day.  Feeling of success is mostly stemming from the meeting with my research advisor this afternoon.  Before that I just had Quechua, and it went pretty well, though was sadly full of frustratingly unexplained new and strange grammatical junk.  I guess that’s always what I get in Quechua.  Anyway, after that I met up with my research advisor and sort of brain dumped everything I’d been working on, and through a series of things I don’t really want to rehash it seems that I’ve gotten him really excited about the direction of my project, and I’ve uncovered the threads from which I might unravel some of my fundamental misunderstandings of Optimality Theory.  I really can’t go over how much this excites me.  It’s like a choose your own adventure version of my mental life.  I do a lot of work, I turn a lot of pages, and with every page I turn, another little hint is dropped… thus a whole mental universe contained in pages connected to pages connected to pages.  My own mental labrinth.

I’ve gone astray.  Met later in the afternoon (after a trip with Lewis to Sams… mmm) with my TA professor for a tiny meeting on this week’s homework grading.  Another thing I can’t say enough of:  how nice this professor is to work with.  So far, at least, he’s been really considerate, pleasant, and amiable.  He also ascented to look over anything I need while I’m working on this phonology paper (as he is, in fact, a phonologist).  This is great.  I’m TAing for his Optimality Theory class, so it’s the perfect stage for us to get our brains together on the Optimality Theory portion of the paper I’m working on. As an added bonus, my graduate program advisor had just recommeded him to me as a likely candidate to be on my PhD committee if I am in fact going to go forward with a phonology thesis.  I can’t imagine doing otherwise, so good to get the relevant folks on my side earlier than later!

Saw a colloquium from John Ohala this evening, which was slightly less eventful than I might have hoped.  At first, his presentation seemed to be speaking directly to the conversation I had been having with my research advisor, but then it veered off in a different direction and left me wanting.  It was nice to see everyone I know all in one room at once though, since pretty much the entire lingusitics program – professors and graduate students alike – was in attendance.  It’s always good to see famousy linguists talk though, if for no other reason than it’s healthy to separate the reputation from the man and to see how peers interact in these environments.  I’d like to think I wouldn’t been so star struck as to avoid the risk of making a fool of myself in front of someone big-named  in favor of being meek.  It’s funny how much of my graduate school education lately seems to be learning to operate as an equal and valid individual in such a small field.

Tomorrow… doctors appointment, and only one class!  Also, perhaps, picking out new frames for my glasses!  Could be good times.


It was a fairly successful day, but I’m feeling rather cranky at the moment.  I just finished grading a section’s worth of homework and I found a little cheating action in there.  Nothing makes me more cranky than people cheating on their work!  It’s not like we’re demanding an unreasonable amount.  And if you hate the class this much, maybe you should have dropped it.  Sigh.  Anyway.  Let’s not talk about this.

Let’s talk about how Lewis built me a fire tonight!  I should have taken a picture; it was marvelous.  It made our living room all toasty and homey, and it was even nice to grade papers by!  We also got our veg box tonight, and it’s full of bounty.  Oh how I love our veg box guys, even if their website only works some of the time.  Ooh, and we also went to the Co-op and got some essentials.  I had wanted to go to Ace, too, to get some more bulbs to plant before it gets too late, but Lewis and I were both pretty crashed out by the time we were ready to leave campus.

Not much else went on today.  But we have a – blessed! – holiday tomorrow!  I’m going to sleep in, and get a ton of work done, I hope I hope!  I did do a little private phonology lesson this afternoon which went okay… turns out the more phonology classes you take, the more crap you get at explaining all the fun stuff.  But I think my student got the jist and hopefully the homework won’t be too much trouble.  I’m looking forward to doing phonology in sections this week!  Too bad this is the only week of it… I feel like I’m ready to teach phonology classes!

Ooh, I also wrangled Sallie Mae today, which should count as a week’s worth of success at least.  Somehow, calling them is always a huge chore.  I even got stuck in an infinite phone tree loop today… but I prevailed, with what I’m declaring to be at least 2/3rds success.  I have all my loans deferred now for at least four years, which is a start.  A four-year-long start.  In another three and a half years I can start worrying about that last third I didn’t get taken care of today, which is to make sure they defer my loans throughout my stay in graduate school, which is predicted to be six years as the moment.  But whatever.

It’s midnight already… I really should get some sleep!  So much to do, and time passes so quickly while I’m doing it.. it’s like the very act of accomplishing work always makes me further behind!  Reminds me of one of those spider webs where the more you struggle to free yourself, the more tightly bound you become.  But I guess that’s what it’s all about.  Graduate school, that is.



I think it might have been a productive day.  If only I could remember what I’ve done.

Ah yes.  I got up early.  And I went to class.  I turned in my first homework(!) and survived my lectures.  I lunched with Lewis, and got all my materials prepared for tomorrow’s first big TA session.  Then I started reading some insane phonology paper and was joyously saved by the presidential debate.  Watched the debate and made delicious spicy dirty rice.  Returned to phonology paper.  Lost my mind.

I am now going to bed.  And I wan’t no more of your crazy beta-sounds or phonetic equivalent classes, Hockett.  You crazy old man.