Author Topic: Introduction Thread  (Read 31147 times)

Offline FlatAssembler

  • Linguist
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
  • Country: hr
    • Croatian
    • FlatAssembler's Homepage
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #45 on: August 24, 2017, 01:10:47 PM »
This forum, my experience teaches me, isn't very active. You don't get countless responses, but at least you get sensical ones. That's not true for other forums about linguistics.
Hi, I am, as some people here already know, a 17-year-old from Croatia.

Offline LinguistSkeptic

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 33
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2017, 07:42:14 AM »
So, as some of you already know, I am interested in linguistics, but I don't like it when controversial things are stated as fact.

Offline ForumExplorer

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 12
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2017, 01:13:58 AM »
I am interested in sociology, and Internet forums are perhaps the best places to explore it.

Fiddlestix McWhiskers

  • Guest
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #48 on: January 19, 2018, 04:47:05 PM »

I feel a bit underdressed here.  I am a 44 year old antique restorationist, ex musician, former alcoholic/drug addict and a high school dropout. 

I have been having a sort of lawnmower man experience for about six years now.  I have been developing almost instant and insatiable interests in things that used to bore me to tears.

A few months back, I decided to start learning Spanish and started using Dulingo, not knowing anything about languages or the learning of them.  Then, my brother told me about Esperanto being an introductory language and that sent me down a relatively deep rabbit hole, in which I discovered The Ling Space on YouTube and, within the last few days, Steven Pinker.

With my head still spinning in the fresh bliss of a neophyte, I am seeking to go from an almost completely uneducated idiot to, well, not that.

I would like to start at the very beginning and develop a strong base in understanding the building blocks of English grammar.  When I say building blocks, I mean the definitions of the terms noun, adjective, modifier, infinitive &c..  My goal is to try to understand the basic underlying terms and rules that grammar in all languages share and build on that by dissecting sentences and examining their structures &c..

Can anyone recommend a good go to book to help me start my journey?  Or, conversely, can anyone point out the folly of my itinerary in a way that won't completely soar above my head?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2018, 04:58:27 PM »
Hello and welcome. The first thing I notice about your question is that you describe English grammar as if it comes predetermined with labels for things. In fact, grammar is just what internal knowledge we have that allows us to speak-- whether professors or high school dropouts! Linguists are interested in figuring out how all of that works (usually from an abstract, language-based structural perspective, sometimes biologically), although having terms for parts of grammar is of course helpful as we try to describe things and figure out how they fit together. On the other hand, "grammar" as an area of study goes back much earlier to traditional grammatical descriptions, especially of Latin and Greek, where it was thought that there were right and wrong ways to say things (and right and wrong languages). That's what you'll most likely get from a language textbook or your English teacher. That's also where terms like "noun" come from, although we also use them as linguists to describe things.

So from here you have three directions you could go in:
1. Study traditional grammar. Look at the history of grammatical descriptions, perhaps starting with the Greeks, and then up to the 1800s or so with the books when they thought they had it all figured out. They didn't. But it's interesting from a historical perspective.
2. Prescriptive grammar: the idea that there are standards and 'best' ways of doing things, like taught in an English class. There are times this is very useful, like learning how to write a resumé that will get you hired for a job. When to use commas, and so forth. Also useful when learning new languages (in addition to just practicing, of course).
3. Descriptive grammar: where linguists try to describe how people speak (rather than telling them how to), and figure out how language works. People speak. But how? We want to know. And you won't really find linguists doing anything prescriptive, because we're not interested in figuring out the "right way", because we don't believe that one language/dialect/expression/whatever is better than another. We're just interested in understanding more about how people can do this complex thing called language.

As for the labels, they're useful for any of the approaches (and at least the major ones are shared across them). But they're really more like myths we tell ourselves in order to have something to talk about. At least until someone really figures out how everything works, there's no sense in which there are "real labels", just various different suggestions of categories and names for them. Borderline cases are fascinating to linguists, annoying for prescriptivists, and often overlooked historically. (That's what I do a lot of my work on, one way or another.)

Oh, and as for a book I'd recommend, here are some ideas:
1. If you like the topics I've mentioned, I'd recommend Anne Curzan's 2014 Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History. It's a nice balanced perspective and would introduce various topics that you might want to learn more about later.
2. For a very accessible and enjoyable introduction to the origin/history of language as well as how it is used in society is Tore Janson's  2012 The History of Languages: An Introduction. It's easy to read with no background but gets into lots of interesting questions. At times I disagreed with the author (like what the future of languages will be like in the last chapter) but it's the sort of book that also allows you to form your own opinions while giving the relevant background. Highly recommended. (There's also an older book by the same author called Speak that might be easier to find at a library and also has a lot of the same content-- the new book seems to be a revised edition of that one to some extent.)
3. Mark Newbrook's 2013 Strange Linguistics is an overview of bizarre (and almost certainly wrong) theories of language. It covers lots of different topics and might point you in the direction of some other questions to explore later, and it's amusing. It is not widely available (even at academic libraries), however. Some of the material is found on a blog here though:

There are of course various other books that are more commonly recommended and others would suggest. These are just ones I happen to like and think might be relevant for you.

For anything else please start a new discussion in one of the relevant sub-forums to discuss more, ask for book recommendations, etc. Questions are welcome.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 05:10:50 PM by Daniel »
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Fiddlestix McWhiskers

  • Guest
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #50 on: January 19, 2018, 06:56:34 PM »
I have created a new thread to continue the discussion here, if anyone is interested.

Offline Joustos

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2018, 08:41:58 PM »
Who are you?  Where did you come from?  What is your connection to linguistics? Introduce yourself!.............

Hello, Cory and everybody! My pseudonym is Joustos, which is an Old Latin word that then became Justus (= Just; Justinian). I am old and retired, with an old age interest in languages. (My old professional fields were science and philosophy.) I was born in Magna Graecia (southern Italy), where I raised questions about the origin of my town's inhabitants and led me, now, to a manuscript, "Indo-European and its Speakers". (It's in the hands of some British publishers, while I am in the U.S.A.) It includes many etymologies of European and Mideastern words, including Anglo-Saxon, Etruscan (now translated), and Basque. // I keep on learning about speaking, languages, and ethnology. I am a perennial student.

Offline turnoi

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2018, 03:09:38 AM »
I am new here and just registered for access to this forum. I am a retired university professor in Linguistics and spent most of my professional life abroad in developping nations in teaching, research and working with several community projects organised by ethnic groups on language developoment and reform. I also have a passion for education and initiated some non-proifit projects helping students mature and grow. I specialised in areas like language planning, foreign language teacher training and linguistic field research with a focus on Sino-Tibetan and Bantu languages in Africa. Currently, I am helping a Ph. D. graduate student from Nepal to accomplish a research project on the native language of this student. The language is Dhimal with approx. 20,000 speakers in Nepal and India which I estimate to be one of the endangered languages.

Offline AleSer31

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2018, 01:49:46 AM »
Hello everyone, my name is Alessandra.
I´m Italian and live in Germany, where I´m currently studying Musicology and Indoeuropean linguistics.
As soon as I started studying IE-Linguistic I was fascinated by the linguistic bound which keeps these languages together, and it was so much fun to reconstruct the words phonetically and to reflect upon the morphological changes across the PIE-derived languages. Moreover I find so interesting to get to know how some expressions have come to be used, how some words changed their meaning.
Another topic which interests me is language contact.

Something more about me: I´m currently learning Dutch, I enjoy playing Sudoku and I love listening to music (I would like to be as eclectic as possible).

I´m glad to be here and I´ll surely enjoy my stay here. I can´t wait to participate :)

Offline Muikkunen

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 9
  • Country: 00
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2018, 03:16:00 AM »

I am a girl very interested in linguistics. I'm studying translation in university, but during 3 years of my studies I realized that I like linguistics much more than translation.
Unfortunately, there aren't many linguistic classes offered, I had only a few introductory ones: introduction to linguistics, semantics and lexicology. Everything else are either subjects about translation theory and practice or some totally off-topic subjects, such as philosophy, history etc. I am expoloring linguistics on my own and I hope I will find help and support here.
I am still a novice to linguistics, I think. I know very little, but I'm excited to learn more. Sometimes, when I read books or articles on linguistics, I get discouraged because I do not understand something. I will ask my questions here and hopefully get answers to them.

I am interested in: morphology, syntax, typology, phonetics, field linguistics and language revitalization.

Language families I am currently interested in: Uralic, Eskimo-Aleut, Austronesian, Papuan (I know that the last one is rather a geographical grouping)

I am also interested in learning foreign languages. I study English and Spanish at university. I am trying to improve my knowledge of these languages and also to learn Tagalog and Indonesian. Austronesian alignment is very interesting, but also challenging to me.

After finishing my BA in translation, I want to study for MA in field linguistics, but I haven't decided yet, which university to choose. I visit SIL website from time to time to look at what they offer there. I consider working with them after finishing Master's. I don't really know much about other such organizations.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 04:39:47 AM by Muikkunen »
I am here to learn. I am a beginner.

Offline Suryà

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2018, 10:21:41 AM »

I am Spanish and I'm studying Linguistics in University of Cádiz. It is my first year.
Linguistics was my fourth option. In fact, I wanted to start a double degree in philology. It seemed like a serendipity: no sooner I entered in the general linguistic class, I totally fell in love with it.
I am interested in every single field (specially computational) and I am really excited about all this!
By the way, I like English language, listening to music and discussing (not fights at all  :-*)

I am willing to participate, asking questions, learning some basics and terms.  ;D

Offline Matt Longhorn

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 20
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2018, 10:52:09 PM »
Hi, I am Matt. I have an active interest in Hellenistic Greek which has slowly gravitated away from pure grammar / translation (for myself) to now looking at linguistic theories as well.
I started to work through some books on SFL but rapidly got diverted to relevance theory which is my current main area of interest. For some reason RT books don't come cheap - I have about 25 books and therefore a significantly lighter bank balance as a result.
At the moment I am spending my time listening to journal articles and reading about definiteness from an RT perspective with a view to understanding the Greek article better.
Being self-taught and not part of any academic institution I was hoping that some of my questions may find answers here. They are likely to be pretty basic to most of you, but I am still a beginner so happy to learn and be corrected by others.

Offline PetitTom

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #57 on: June 13, 2018, 05:29:14 AM »
Greetings! My name is Tom, happy to join this community. I am not graduaded specialist in linguistics, but linguistics represents my favorite hobby. Interested in Romance languages, I am currently learning French, Spanish and Franco-Provençal dialects. Do I want to link my professional activities with linguistics? Maybe, I am not sure at this moment.

But I can say with confidence that I am big lover of languages. I learned French in university for 4 years and also I finished Coursera french online course (level B1). Now I would like to improve my knowledge to B2. 

Thanks for attention and have a nice day!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 06:04:06 AM by PetitTom »

Offline Nemi

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Introduction Thread
« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2018, 10:50:25 AM »
Hi to all! My name is Nemi and I just started to dive into Corpus Linguistics. Currently I'm doing some research on Twitter. As I am pretty new to all this (my former field was philosophy), I have a lot of questions and was very happy, when I discovered this forum. I hope my questions are not too benign and apologize in advance, if they are :) Thank you for reading and nice to meet all of you!