Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slowly introducing the dissertation 1

So I'm going to slowly start introducing the dissertation topic here. It has to be slow because I'm still working it out myself. The first exhibit is his video of Finnish hockey. You only need to listen to about 30 seconds.

Is my dissertation about language use in hockey games?

Unfortunately, no.

The point of the clip is that I have absolutely no idea what they said. (But I may have heard a hockey player's name, Kimmo Timonen, who was until this year a Nashville Predator.) Not only do I have no idea what they said, I can't even go look up the words, because I have no idea how many words were there, where they started and stopped, or anything. There were some pauses, but in between the pauses, it was just a bunch of sounds. Was that one word, two words, 10 words? No idea.

But when I listen to English I hear nothing but words. Every once in a while I might be confused between "carpool" and "carp pool", but not too often. And yet when I was born, English sounded just like the Finnish.

I was born in a hockey rink.

Or rather I had no idea where words started or stopped or even that there were words or maybe even that there was this thing called language that I should bother learning. Good lord, I was mostly just moving things in and out of various orifices without noticing.

How did I go from "oharentyousocuteyoulookjustlikeyourdaddywiththebignoseandpointyhead" to hearing nice cleanly divided words without blinking? Or if it was too easy to read that, then from "ahnixiangnidefuqinzhendehahanidebizihenda" to words?

That's the dissertation topic.

More later.


Ello said...

Paca - that was an awesome analogy! Especially for a nummy head like me! I totally get your dissertation topic and it absolutely fascinates me! I'm gonna want to know all about it as you proceed.

By the way, classes end in two and a half weeks and I will be able to read again. Can you direct me to the link of the apology article? I still want to read it!

Robin S. said...

Hi -

I'm so glad you're back onto your dissertation topic- I find this fascinating.


pacatrue said...

Hi, Ello. I'm glad the analogy worked. I will definitely keep talking about it. Of course, the idea of finding words is a whole career, not one dissertation, so I will be tackling one little corner of this world. My job is to narrow and narrow and yet still keep it important. Meanwhile, here's the link to my research articles and the apology one is about halfway down.


Robin s, more it to come! Are you sure you weren't a linguistics student at one point?

SzélsőFa said...

I'm interested in linguistics as well. So let it come.
I've listened to the sports film, understaning none of the Finnish words, hee.

Robin S. said...

Hi again paca -

I've always loved all things language. Took 3 different ones in school, and traveled so I could use them.

I've always read etymologies and phrase origins - and I enjoy accents and same-language regional differentiation. I was told before I majored in (in order) English, philosophy, political science and finally, psychology (what my degree finally ended up being in...) that I should have studied linguistics. So, yeah, I shoulda maybe done what you're actually doing- hope you don't mind a little vicarious pleasure on my part as you travel through your work!

Church Lady said...

My other post got eaten.

Here goes again.

Thanks for sharing your journey. I really love the field of linguistics.

My other post said something witty about Ice Hotties, but I can no longer remember it.


Ello said...

Oh good - I'll check it out in a few weeks. I hope I don't forget! My memory is terrible these days!

pacatrue said...

Well, there was supposed to be more on this topic today, but that damn Harry Chapin post took a lot longer than I realized. So maybe Saturday.