Tag Archives: linguistics

BEDA 9: The Night That the Lights Went Out In Georgia

Internet I waited until so late in the afternoon to talk to you because I wanted to report back on my linguistics midterm, which I received back today. Originally this is how I planned out the post (earlier this afternoon):

Internet, I officially know what it is like to fail a college exam. In all the three years I have been going to college I have never made below a C on any exam (this is, of course, excluding my American History II exams in which I made straight D’s). I have made all A’s on my Psychology exams (THAT is what happens when you study for SIX HOURS per exam- I’m not even slightly kidding). I have made all A’s in the majority of my English classes (only English class to get a B in was American Literature and that was because my professor was a d-bag). I have passed every single Education exam (and believe me, those are hard exams to pass). But I have officially failed at life by getting an F on my linguistics exam, which only means I am going to fail out of college and work at McDonald’s for the rest of my life. I mean, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s, it’s just…I had different goals for my life. Woe is me internet. Woe. Is. Me.

“But Lauren” you say, “what do you mean by ‘originally this is how I planned out the post (earlier this afternoon)’? Did something change?”

Why yes Internet. Something did change indeed. Mainly the fact that…


Yes, I did it! I can’t even begin to get my mind around it. My T.A. handed it back and it took all that was within me NOT to lean over to the girl in the next seat and say “Um, excuse me, you do not know me and I do not know you, but can you tell me if this grade right here means I PASSED?” Fortunately for her, I did not do this. I wanted to, but refrained.

And speaking of my T.A., I am so happy to inform you I got a new one! As in we have two T.A.s and one (lets call him John… the one we do not particularly care for) taught up until Spring Break and the other one (lets call her Jane, the one we adore) took over after Spring Break. She even did this thing where she sent us an email letting us know what to expect to do in class, and what we should be looking over and preparing for! And bonus! She is sending those out weekly! John the one we do not particularly care for did not do this. Ever. It was rather nice. So now I have decided that I hate linguistics a little less. Don’t get me wrong- I still think it is a pretty pointless class that will never fully win me over, but I no longer think about killing small animals and inflicting pain on small children every time I attend class. So we are making progress.

OH and let me tell you about how I was ALMOST KILLED today! I was just minding my own business when all of the sudden this gang was standing outside (on the right side) of Memorial Hall. There must have been at least ten or more of them just standing there with their Frisbee (yes, you read that correctly, FRISBEES) and they were throwing them at random people. Well, I just happened to have no option to get to class around them; I had to walk right by them and as I was going down the steps to get to my class a Frisbee flew over my head and landed very near the next spot I was going to step. Well I just kept on walking and ignored the hooligans.

But it was terrifying because I had what is sometimes referred to as a “war flashback” of the time I was standing in the empty cafeteria with three people from my class throwing around a plastic container lid as if it was just your every day Frisbee. Well one guy threw it with all of his might, with everything he had in him and it just so happened that my chest decided it was her job to stop the plastic container lid/wannabe Frisbee. And needless to say, it hurt really, really badly. So as I was walking down the steps, looking that the white Frisbee floating above my head, I ducked, winced, and prayed my chest did not feel the need to intervene once again.

Have a happy April everyone! See you tomorrow.

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BEDA 7: We Both Have Shiny Happy Fits of Rage

Today I got my History of the Holocaust exam back and I passed! I did better than I thought. I then went to French where I got back that exam and I passed! Woot! I was nervous but I knew all the little mistakes made were going to be stupid ones- not adding accents to certain letters, and then of course the numbers. I epically fail with French numbers above 30. I then went to the class from hell (aka linguistics) where I learned that our exams would not be returned today, but rather in the discussion groups. This means I have to wait until Thursday to find out that I failed. I mean, seriously, I FAILED that thing. I just see no way possible I could have passed. It was baaad.

Today in Linguistics we watched a clip from Shrek 3 in which my professor quoted the entire thing out loud much to our amusement. Then we watched a clip from High Fidelity, which is an utterly awesome movie. Go watch it. ALSO my linguistics professor gets points for having EVE (from Wall-E) as the background of his computer.

I’m really in the mood for a S’mores, which is odd because I generally don’t like them unless they are in pop-tart form. In that case, I adore them. But I think a large part of my craving is due to the fact that I have a box of graham crackers sitting on my desk and on the back there is a picture of the most delicious looking S’more. I mean, those things typically look better on the back of the box then they do when you make them. Back of box S’mores are perfectly even, the marshmallow has the perfect amount of toastyness and you just want to go and make one. Then you do and the marshmallow is all sticky and the whole this is this gooey mess and I really hate getting food and stuff all over my fingers when I consume it so needless to say, S’mores are not the treats for me.

When my History of the Holocaust professor gets really passionate about something or when he gets really excited talking about something in class he begins to slightly stutter (more of a stammer I suppose) but it is so adorable. Today he literally could not say “above and beyond.” He kept saying “beove and abond” over and over and then had to stop, take a deep breath, and try again. Around the fifth or so time he finally got it. ALSO back story to my exam: my professor told us to study three to five main points in the notes in preparation for our essay. Well I did just that, but apparently I studied the wrong three to five main points. We were supposed to pick one out of four, but all of the essay questions related back to the same topic! Each question had a slight change compared to the others. So I chose the one that I could completely b.s. my way through enough to pass. It worked! But today when we got them back there were a few notes from my T.A. saying I wasn’t clear, or what was the significance of this, or what did this time period have to do with anything, but the one that caught my eye was this little gem: “Review the essay question- you have not addressed it adequately. Your argument is unclear, as is your chronology. Please come to office hours is you want to discuss how to craft an essay.” As soon as I read that I literally laughed out loud and I could not stop laughing. Seriously? I know the essay was complete crap- I admit it! I got a freaking 51 out of 70 possible points on it! I had no idea how to answer it because I didn’t even study that question. I have gotten an A in every single one of my college English classes (save one, but that professor was a complete arse) so I know how to craft an essay. I mean, I wasn’t upset or anything… just highly amused. It definitely made my day a little brighter.

Now I must go read a 270 page book for tomorrow’s class. Quote of the day from my quote of the day calendar:

“Between whom there is heavy truth there is love.” – Henry David Thoreau

Have a happy April! See you tomorrow.

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You know when you were a kid in school and your teacher would present you with…lets say a math problem. And your teacher would inform you how to find the area of a square and how to square root problems and find angles and such. And then you would say to yourself, “when am I ever going to use this?” But that summer your family needed to re-tile the kitchen and you found yourself finding the area of a square, etc., etc. because you were the one in your family who knew how to do such things. Then a  few years later your teacher would explain to you how to find x, and figure out what sine and cosine and tangent were, and how to graph a function, and you just sat there like, “okay, seriously, I stuck with you during areas and whatnot, but unless I become an engineer, or a math teacher, when am I ever going to use this in real life?”

And that time you were right. You perused your degree in journalism, or theater, or fashion, or English, and you never found the need for that retarded graphing calculator that cost so much money and took up so much room in your clean, neat, organized desk drawer. And you were angry. Angry for wasting your time listening to a math teacher who clearly had no idea what he was doing and you left the class knowing about as much as you did going into it? No? Was that just me?

Well I am at a point in my life where I have come to such a situation, yet again, only this time instead of a math class, I am sitting twice a week in a linguistics class. Every Tuesday from 3:30-4:45 I sit and listen to my professor inform us about the study of the English language (which, I may point out, English is not my professors first language. But that is besides the point). And then Thursdays from 5:00-6:15 I get to listed to my T.A., who thinks he knows just about everything about every single language, inform me that I am doing problems wrong and that “linguistics is fun! Let’s do another problem so I can embarrass you!”

Now like I said, linguistics is the study of language. I have been in this class for just over a month, and I still have no idea why this is mandatory for my degree. I mean, I know I am going to be teaching English to students, but you would think my time would be better spent learning etymology and the root of words, where they come from, what they mean. You know, useful stuff. Not this crap we are suffering through in linguistics. You see the first thing thrown at you in linguistics is a whole new alphabet. Yes, we now have to learn the IPA (international phonetics alphabet) and surprise! You now have 12 or 14 (I can’t be bothered to go look) vowels instead of the usual a-e-i-o-u. Oh and to add to all of that, the vowels are pronounced differently that we say them. “a” becomes the “o” sound heard in “pot” and the “a” sound heard in “bat. “e” becomes the “ai” sound heard in “bait” while “i” becomes the “ee” sound heard in “beet.” “o” becomes the “oa” sound heard in “boat” and finally “u” becomes the “oo” sound heard in “boot.” I should probably mention that there is no capitalization in the IPA alphabet.

Confusing, no? And that is just for half the vowels, not even touching on the consonants. This is just one way I dislike linguistics. Today we had a quiz, and it was during this quiz that I actually figured out how to do one of the problems I skipped on my homework assignment. Keeping in mind that this class is totally ridiculous, here is a sample problem from my homework that was featured on my quiz.

Instructions: Translate the following phonetic transcriptions to the corresponding English sentences.

2. dεlәwεrIzbItwinnujɔrkændwaʃIŋtәndisiændklostәfIlәdεlfIә

So here is how we would solve this.

Step 1. Translate it into the literal phonetical sentence, which would then appear as:


Step 2. Break it down into a sentence that sort of begins to make sense:

delawer iz bitween nooyorc and washingtan deesee and cloas tao hiladelphia.

Step 3. Translate it into an actual English sentence.

Delaware is between New York and Washington D.C. and close to Philadelphia.

Step 4. Pop a few pills because you have about six or so more of these.

Now that I know how to actually do the problem, it seems sort of fun. I still can not figure out the first one on the homework, but seeing as I already turned it in, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot I can do about it now. We sort of learned how to do this in class and then it was on the quiz I took today, which is where I actually figured out how to do it, seeing as it is not a good idea to leave things blank on a quiz.

But as “fun” (read: sarcasm) as that seems, I still have yet to figure out the point of this class. What do I care if a honey bee can do a dance to point towards pollen? What do I care that animals have different warning calls for danger? What do I care that an ape can supposedly learn sign language? Okay, that one is actually kind of cool, though I am only halfway convinced that an ape can fully learn sign language. And back to the question that still haunts me, years out of high school, when am I ever going to use this in real life?

Please, someone let me know.


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