walkingshadow: uhura knows all the languages (birds come back to the pond to talk)
  1. Thank you so much for the virtual snowflake cookies, [livejournal.com profile] stealingpennies and [livejournal.com profile] geeklite! :D

  2. I have four dreamwidth invites, so if anyone reading this doesn't have an account and would like one, just drop a comment/PM/email, whatevs. They are free to good homes!

  3. For the last few months I've been volunteering at the local adult literacy center, and I LOVE it. Back in September I went through the twelve-hour tutor training, the ultimate intention of which is usually to match you up one-on-one with a student, but as I was getting in my requisite hours of classroom observation, I found that being in the classroom was what I really loved doing. So I decided not to request a tutee, and instead I've been operating as a de facto teaching assistant (which they are always desperately in need of, as the classes have gotten relatively large, and there are students at all learning levels in attendance).

    Since I've got this stupid degree in linguistics, and I'm a natural-born lecturer, the instructor has been asking me from early on to prepare lessons from week to week, which I have been enjoying, but basically winging, since I get no direction. Once she asked me to do "something with phonics", which is basically as helpful as telling me to "teach them to read". I mean, can you vague that up for me? But I have found many resources via the google, and the class title of "Basic Literacy and Spelling" has given me enough leeway to go over things like derivational morphology, the silent "e", and orthographic-phoneme mapping.

    Tonight we spent the whole class carving up sentences into phrases (because dividing sentences into phrases is natural and helps increase fluency while reading), and even though I didn't mention the word "constituent" even ONCE, sometimes I thought I was going waaay over their heads, and sometimes I asked them a question that I thought had a really simple answer, but they gave me an answer that seemed UTTERLY RANDOM; but sometimes they just GOT IT, and it was AWESOME. I fucking love language, I love the English language, and even though I thought of a dozen ways to do it better as soon as I was done, tonight was a good night. I think that's all I wanted to say.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (trek: the internet gazes back into you)
to help us maximize our buccaneer potential on this, international talk like a pirate day, language log posted both the corsair ergonomic keyboard for pirates (perfect for pirate blogging!) and an instructional video:


you can also read their post from last year, in which they discuss how pirates got their arrr on, maritime pidgin english, whether all pirates are from devonshire, robert newton's alcohol-fueled phonetic inventions, etc.

p.s. i can only interpret "update captain's log" in the context of star trek, and now i desperately want to hear a) shatner talking like a pirate, or b) a pirate talking like shatner.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
a. right, went to atlanta last weekend with my dad: on saturday we scoped out a scrimmage for the kids' robotics competition and had italian food in celebration of c.'s birthday; the new georgia aquarium* was (unsurprisingly) jam-packed on the sunday of a holiday weekend; fernbank still has awesome dinosaur skeletons in the rotunda and a kick-ass children's section upstairs; and we watched 4940352 hours of olympics coverage in high definition. i do not need to see bob costas that clearly. also most sports commentators should not so much commentate as shut up.

b. now is still a good time to request songs and icons!

c. i have to write a 10,000-word lj entry in four days omg. and by "have to" i mean "i brought this down upon myself" and "what kind of influence was i UNDER anyway?"

d. last night instead of writing 10,000 words on anything, i was filling in sudoku puzzles compulsively.

e. also i was listening to starship's "nothing's gonna stop us now" on repeat. i know there are people in this world who don't like starship—who, in fact, think starship is one of the worst bands ever to record a hit song in the 1980s, and those people are DEAD TO ME kthx.

f. ALSO last night my hair looked FABULOUS. (my hair looks best when i wash it, like, once a week, which is about how often i'm getting out of the house these days, so that works out.) [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu and i met for coffee and milkshakes and cards in dunkin' donuts, then we took a trip to borders, and then we drove along the beach for a while listening to RENT.

g. i feel like i have a thousand things to do, but i don't really—unless you count tagging all the fic on my hard drive into my del.icio.us account, or making criminal minds icons, or writing up a giant NCIS pimp post of doom (it's coming, mwahahaha), or writing a 10,000-word lj post, just for the hell of it—which i don't, particularly. and all the big things that i should be doing i just keep shunting into my blind spot and avoiding like the plague. basically i have no money and no prospects and no direction and no motivation (except—see: "no money") and i'm starting to wonder what's so wrong with staying in bed all day anyway?

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] silentfire texted me to say, "so i was thinking, and i decided that you should get a job up here in boston" and she is so right.

h. like everyone else on the internets i took the quick and painless enneagram test. i am a five (the observer: "i need to understand the world") and yes, it is a direct pipeline to my soul, but its html is horrifying, so here are some highlights:

how to get along with me: remember that if i seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that i am feeling uncomfortable; help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy.

what i like about being a five: coming to a thorough understanding—perceiving causes and effects; not being caught up in material possessions and status.

what's hard about being a five: feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all; watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally.

fives as children often: spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on; have a few special friends rather than many (for me this is true now more than ever); are very bright and curious and do well in school.

i. someone ought to drop language log a line and suggest that gray text on a white background isn't the easiest combination on the eyes, but man are they fun to read. yesterday they nominated this something positive cartoon for a trent reznor prize for tricky embedding. in it they linked to a fascinating post on writing style and dementia, in which mark liberman commented that "geoff pullum will be happy to learn that strunk and white's stylistic advice may actually rot the brain." and then i spent a happy hour reading through the language log archives for all the times geoff pullum has whaled on the elements of style—here are some of my favorites!

j. all or most of the above was written sometime before i went to bed at six or seven a.m. this morning, but obviously not posted. today i woke up at around one-thirty, had breakfast at three, and puttered around until my mom got home at around four-thirty. we started drinking white wine and eating bruschetta at five, ordered italian food at five-thirty, and my dad brought it home at a little after six, or maybe six-thirty, at which time we switched to red wine and continued with season five gilmore girls on DVD. luke and lorelai are the cutest EVER and i just want those crazy kids to work it OUT. you guys. i've had, like, five glasses of wine, and that's the perfect time to start finishing up my [livejournal.com profile] rec50 recs, right? right. right.

* frankly i was BORED at the georgia aquarium. the fish were cool—the jellyfish were the COOLEST—but we were ten people in our party and my pace was a lot faster than most of them, meaning i spent a lot of time standing and waiting for everyone else while surrounded by mobs of people. plus we found the exhibits curiously short on information. when i'm looking at the tanks and asking "but what ARE they, where do they live, what do they eat, why do they look like that?" you're not volunteering enough. i did discover that sea otters (who, by the way, seem to have just as much fun as we think they do) have hair on every part of their body but their front paws, which they hold out of the water to keep warm. also they use tools! luckily, [livejournal.com profile] silentfire was reading about the dull thoughts of dead white men in a boston coffee shop and was available to text me with ideas of gibbs and tony making out in the aquarium's dark and blue-tinged recesses. \o/
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (all you fascists are bound to lose)

By all means, avoid using they with singular antecedents in your own writing and speaking if you feel you cannot bear it. Language Log is not here to tell you how to write or speak. But don't try to tell us that it's grammatically incorrect. Because when a construction is clearly present several times in Shakespeare's rightly admired plays and poems, and occurs in the carefully prepared published work of just about all major writers down the centuries, and is systematically present in the unreflecting conversational usage of just about everyone including Sean Lennon, then the claim that it is ungrammatical begins to look utterly unsustainable to us here at Language Log Plaza. This use of they isn't ungrammatical, it isn't a mistake, it's a feature of ordinary English syntax that for some reason attracts the ire of particularly puristic pusillanimous pontificators, and we don't buy what they're selling.

March 2011

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