Favourite Friday: Classes this semester

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.

Favourite Friday: Favourite Classes during my B.A. studies

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.

potato harvest

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.