Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DC Synod Assembly Meeting Weekend

I was at the ELCA Metro DC synod assembly meeting this weekend, and it was a blast! The meeting itself wasn’t all that interesting, but the weekend was wonderful. The meeting was at Roanoke College. It was awesome to see the school again, and I got the chance to see and catch up with people from RC who I haven’t seen in years.

The Holy Cross group (Pastor Jones, Pastor Johnson, Sylvia, Jen, and I) carpooled—God bless Syl for driving! We left the Church around 10 on Thursday and arrived at RC mid-afternoon. After checking in, we went straight to the first plenary session. We had missed the “opening ceremonies”, but none of us cared (and it turns out, what we missed wasn’t worth being there for! Besides, to get there for the opening sessions, we would have had to leave Church before the a.m. rush hour. It would have been brutal). It was a long afternoon, with not much interesting from the meeting itself. Lots of legalese and submitting resolutions to do things like “send our concern…” or “offer gratitude…” In other words, not actually doing anything, but saying a whole lot! It was eye-opening, if boring. (And I really don’t understand why we need to vote to send our concern or condolences or whatever—I mean, really, is anyone going to complain if the synod tells the people in Illinois who are recovering from devastating floods that we feel for them without getting a vote on it? Seriously.)

The best part of the weekend—okay, there were a few best parts—was spending time with the HCLC folks. We had so much fun (and learned things about each other that we probably wish we didn’t know!) together laughing, talking, joking…It was some really great fellowship. Added to that, I got to spend an hour chatting with Dr. Ogier at Mill Mountain. It was fantastic to catch up with him. We talked about languages, travel, school…it was awesome. We hadn’t seen each other since I graduated six years ago, so it was long overdue! I also got to see & talk with Mark & Terri in Info Services—it was great to catch up with them, too. They’re going to work on setting up an RC IT Alum reunion. I hope it works out, because I’d love to get together with all the IT folks again. I also got to chat with Iris, the Language Lab Goddess, and Becky, who used to work in the Chaplain’s office but now works in the President’s office. The one person I didn’t get to see who I really wish I had is Rev. Henrickson, the school Chaplain. I opted to take an afternoon nap instead of visiting more people—an equally valid decision! Next time I make it down to RC, though, I’m definitely going to swing by & see him. It was wonderful to see all the people I worked with and studied with, as well as getting to know the Holy Cross delegation better, so I’m definitely glad I went.

To top off the weekend, when I got home, I got to go to the 'rents house & pet sit for them. Am I lucky or what?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More inspiration...

J.K. Rowling (best author ever!) recently spoke at Harvard's graduation ceremony. Check out the transcript of her speech. It's definitely worth reading or watching. I find her words to be comforting and inspiring.

Another interesting site

I discovered instructables yesterday, and I think it's pretty cool. I do have to say, though, that I'm not sure whether the general public really needs to know how to create a high-voltage supply. I mean, do we really need more ways to wreak havoc and destruction?

Here's another one that my friend Shanon passed along to me. Click on the "blog blog blog" link at the bottom, and watch the video titled "Life=Risk" from May 28. It's pretty inspiring! To view the video directly, go to the youtube site.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Artcyclopedia is a really cool website with all kinds of information on artists, works of art, artistic movements, and so on. If you're curious about anything related to art, it's a fun site to explore!

Letting the Spirit Lead You

This article really grabbed me. I often forget that God wants to guide me in my interests. It's a great reminder to trust & follow Him.

Monday, June 9, 2008


This is another neat website I've found in looking for linguistics-related stuff. I would like to point out that while Ruhlen does seem to have his head on straight (and know his stuff!), he overlooked the fact that Old English is the "parent" language of Modern English much the way that Latin is the parent language of Spanish, French, and Italian.

Oh, I know it's not entirely the same. Latin is the (dead) forebear of a whole family of languages (the Romance Languages), while Old English is the (dead) ancestor of just one Germanic Language, but I think it's a shame that he doesn't point out the fact that the Germanic (and Slavic, etc.) Languages do have ancestor languages, and we do have written documentation of some them, it's just that they don't all stem from the one parent language like the Romances do. I think that, since Old English was contemporary to at least some of the time period when Latin was spoken, he should point that out. I agree, though, that there must be some proto-Germanic and proto-Slavic tongues that gave rise to the various Germanic & Slavic languages we speak today. And more to the point, that there is likely some proto-everything language from which all of our tongues come.

Maybe it's proto-Babel.

The never-ending thesis

I started working on my thesis last fall. I realize that 10 months isn't really that long to be working on a thesis, but it feels like it sometimes! It's at the point that when I edit any of it, I don't really see what's on the page anymore. I don't even see what I think it might be when it's finished. I see what I feel like it should be now. (Which, to my mind, is a flawless page-turner of an essay. Oops! I thought I had gotten rid of my academic perfectionism in college. Oh well. In this case, I think a B might really not be good enough for me.)

So anyway, I got preliminary comments back from one of my readers with some basic changes I needed to make to improve the quality of my argument. Essentially, I messed up the transcriptions of most of the diphthongs and needed to make a few quick & easy changes to fix it. Whew! I'm glad he caught it, because I never would have seen the errors. I've been working on this thesis--and all the little parts that make it up--for long enough now that I even when I see something that's a glaring error, it looks correct. It's like if you rehearse a piece of music (or a line in a play, or whatever) with a small mistake in it, you get to a point that the mistake is what feels correct, even though it's not what you're supposed to be saying.

Anyway, I'm really glad to be in the final stages of my thesis!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Speech Accent Archive

The Speech Accent Archive is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants to learn about accents. It has speech samples of hundreds of people--whose native languages range from Afrikaans to Zulu--speaking the same paragraph. (It also has some pretty fabulous information on the phonetic inventories of all of the native languages covered in the Archive!) It's very interesting to hear the many different people with their many different voices speak the same words.

I highly recommend that everyone spend some time looking through it. It's a lot of fun, even if you don't have any knowledge of or interest in linguistics!

Phonetics and Phonology

I'm a linguist (well, I have a degree in linguistics, but I'm not really sure if that makes me a linguist! At any rate, I think linguistics is really exciting! I guess that goes to show how much of a nerd I am), and my favorite branch of linguistics is phonology. (Other branches include syntax, semantics, historical linguistics, psycho- (or neuro-) linguistics, computational linguistics...)

Whenever I mention that I like phonology, people ask, "oh, so is that like phonetics?"

Well, yes and no. Phonetics is a separate branch of linguistics, but it's related to phonology, and you can't do much phonology without phonetics.

Phonetics is the study of sound. That is, the sounds humans make and how we produce them with our voice apparatus (the anatomical parts we use to produce sounds--lungs, vocal cords, tongue, teeth, nose, etc.) Phonetics defines the sounds, how they're made, and has a symbol to represent each distinct sound. Phonology is the study of patterns of sounds, especially the patterns found within a language. (For example, a fairly universal pattern--aka a phonological universal--is that nasals match the place of articulation of the following consonant. This is why we say impossible instead of inpossible--the nasal sound transfers where it is produced with the voice apparatus to match where the next consonant is produced. Since the p is produced with the lips, the nasal that precedes it--in this case the m--matches the place of sound production; the lips.

So, that's the difference between phonetics and phonology! Phonology uses phonetics to study what sound patterns exist, why, and how they work. (By the way, I love phonetics, too! Especially areas like acoustic phonetics and such...)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stress relief!

This is almost as good as the real thing! Not to mention, it's a good way to waste time...

Bubble wrap!Link

For those of us who struggle with money

I have a confession: I'm terrible at budgeting, and I'm terrible at managing my money. It's not that I'm not motivated enough or intelligent enough to take care of my finances, I'm just not good at it!

Anyway, here's a fun website with good money- and debt-management info. It's worth checking out if you, like me, struggle with this!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some cool sites

I just had to share these links.

Hip-hop violin
I love how these guys combine classical sounds with hip hop to create the amazing music you hear in this clip.

This guy has discovered a major musical secret: everything comes from classical music. Pachelbel Rant

Okay, okay, it's really just that there are a lot of patterns in music, and they show up all over the place. Still, this is really fun :)

I like that these two clips show us both how much fun music can be and how universal it is.