We had an autumnal cookie baking session with some geeky people. We had all kinds of differently cloured icings and other edible decoration, so I couldn’t resist making a stargate in addition to all the leaves and cats. And pink, sparkly dragons and one-eyed krakens I forgot to take pictures of (might do so tomorrow). Some of the other folks concentrated on pacmans and ghosts, or on pizza themed cookies. All while discussing many sorts of nerdy stuff of which I only understood the half.
Yesterday I realized I love my Thursday classes at university. Especially the second one, which happens to be the last one of my week .
Favourite classes this semester:
Tense, Aspect, and Modality. It is taught by a professor emeritus who seems to enjoy teaching us funny things about metaphors and the likes. He tries to help us find things out for ourselves by asking questions and giving us the opportunity to thing of our own examples for phenomena. It’s a mixed course with undergraduate and graduate students from different programmes, so we’re a pretty mixed group of about seven students with different levels of knowledge and different backgrounds. Yay for enlightening discussions at the end of my academic week. Oh, and the seminar is held with a focus on cognitive linguistics.
Semantic Networks and The Mental Lexion are both cool. I signed up for these classes independently (in two entirely different modules), but they go together rather nicely. Basically it’s all about the question how our knowledge is stored and accessed, and which concepts are linked to others in a certain way. The first one is more about representing the relationships between words/concepts found in linguistic corpora, the latter is concerned with the organization of the actual “storage” system in the human brain.
I might like Statistics for Linguists, but I’m not so sure yet. At least the tool and programming language we will use (“R”) seem to be easy enough to manage. And next week another class will start, which will be on Language and Knowledge. Sounds fancy.
Random funny fact: Many lectures at our university use Calvin and Hobbes cartoons to introduce us to new concepts, or to make us think about aspects e.g. of language we tend to overlook.
The first week of the new semester is over! I’ve attended some nice classes so far. Right now I’m in the third semester of my master programme (M.A. in Linguistics), so I think it’s time to remember …
my favourite classes back in the B.A. programme:
– Cognitive Linguistics. It was an elective class I took to connect my major (African Languages: Documentation and Analysis) to my minor (Psychology), and I enjoyed it so much! Most of the time there were between 5 and 10 students in class, and our lecturer was a pretty young academic himself, so we had lots of fun discussing recent theories and difficult articles (though reading them at home was not so funny), and learning from each other. This semester I’m taking a bunch of courses related to this subject, hopefully they’ll be interesting as well!
– Biopsychology was not everybody’s cup of tea, but I liked it (and was pretty good at it). Braaaaains. I hope I’ll be able to take some classes in Neuro- or Patholinguistics in the future to follow up with it.
– Swahili … lugha nzuri. One of the reasons I joint this specific programme was the opportunity to take language classes for three years. Sometimes we even sang songs in class.
– Educational Psychology and Clinical Psychology both were very interesting, though the exam for the latter was quite difficult.
– Phonetics and Phonology rank pretty high on my list of favourites as well. [kən ju ɹiːd θɪs]?
– Manuscript Cultures … well, I really liked most of the contents because I’ve been interested in the history of writing systems since my later childhood. Cuneiform in ancient Mesopotamia? Hieroglyphs and the rebus principle? Being allowed to touch old African “magic scrolls” in class? Count me in. Just the way the lectures were held was not very appealing to me (the fact that I had trouble understanding the lecturer’s accent may have been a big influence as well), so I spent some classes eating licorice and just reading the provided scripts (which were very detailed, easy to understand, and generally helpful, really!) instead of listening all the time. Sorry, prof.
Some time ago we planted a sprouting potato into an old popcorn bucket. Today I decided to harvest because the part above the soil had rotten until it wasn’t connected to the new potatoes anymore, so there was no big hope the potatoes would continue to grow (at least I think so, but I don’t know a lot about potatoes). At first I only found some teeny tiny potatoes the size of my thumbnail, but then there were some bigger ones as well! All in all there is no really big result, now we have about the double overall amount of potato as before (the original one was pretty big), maybe nearly triple if you want to be really optimistic. But nevertheless we have small fresh potatoes from our own window sill now! (Technically this isn’t indoor gardening anymore, as we transferred the bucket to the outside window sill after some days.) Autumn wonders.
My favourite fair is the historical medieval market/fair in my old hometown. It takes part every year on one of the the weekends in October, and it is quite a spectacle: heralds, priests, caged and tortured “prisoners”, witches running around screaming, lots of arts and crafts, smoky food stalls, smaller animals like sheep or ponies, musicians, and other performers like fire-breathers or stilt-walkers. It is fun to wander around, look at all the nice things, learn a thing or to from the spice vendors, try exotic dried fruits or “dragon eggs”, or try your luck with your archery skills. For kids there is even a wooden carousel pushed by people, not powered by electricity! Oh, the colourful costumes, the aroma of spices and fire … tomorrow the fair will be opened. I’m pretty excited, because I missed it the last four years. Oh boy, how I missed it. On Monday university will start again, but this weekend we’ll have fun. “Let’s drink a toast to tomorrow, and one to days long ago” (Blackmore’s Night: Toast to tomorrow). Nah, I won’t drink alcohol I guess, but rhytons look really cool.
At the moment I’m at my family’s home cleaning out things. Today I opened some old folders and came across this little stick-men comic. I must have created it during one of the years when my sister was learning Latin at school, and I guess she was playing with the “o”-sound at the end of the first phrase and saying things like “oh! boo!” (I honestly can’t remember how much of the whole idea for this comic came from her). In case you can’t read my handwriting, the last sentence is supposed to say “Donum mihi non placet!”. I have no clue whether the grammar is correct, as I never really learned Latin – unlike my younger siblings I chose French as my second foreign language.
I hope I will find more stuff like this so I can post it. It’s more fun than throwing away hoarded paper.
Update: My sister says she did the wording to memorize some vocabulary and grammar, and that she drew the first picture, then I did the rest. Teamwork.