This past semester I taught a new course entitled Phonological Theory. Apart from the content, I decided to experiment a bit with the technical details, specifically using pandoc and reveal.js to do the slides and lecture notes.
I’m a pretty consistent LaTeX user, so to the extent I do slides I do them in beamer. There is nothing inherently problematic with this, and AUCTeX saves typing a lot of the boilerplate, but writing two–three presentations per week is still time-consuming.
(Part 1 is here)
We will now zoom in on the linguistic features that have been identified as showing evidence of Norse-Gaelic contacts: the lexicon, preaspiration, and pitch accents. As a phonologist, I won’t have very much to say about the lexicon, but the other two concern me quite a bit. So I’ll start with them.
Preaspiration We start some way off our destination: in English. (If you’ve ever taken an introductory linguistics course, feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph.
It is quite common knowledge that the history of English has been significantly influenced by the settlement of North Germanic speakers in the north-eastern part of what is now England. From relatively trivial words like skirt and window to the less commonly borrowed items like they and all the way to the general simplification of the Old English system of inflections (e.g. case in nouns) in the Middle English period: you name it, the Vikings have been blamed for it.
Although my job title is ‘Lecturer in Theoretical Phonology’ (no, really, I’ve been getting into more empirical work. I went on a data collection trip to South Wales in February to work with Welsh, and only early this week we had two great days collecting Gaelic data in North Argyll – not an area readily associated with Gaelic these days, but in fact we found quite a few very good speakers.
One of my enduring frustrations with the various academic publishing platforms (CJO, ScienceDirect, JSTOR and their ilk) is the wildly inconsistent way in which they export BibTeX entries for articles. Sometimes they put them right on the browser page for easy copy-and-paste; sometimes it comes up after a few clicks in a new window; sometimes you end up downloading a file with an impossibly long or counterintuitive name, or called something like science.
With the Scottish independence debate we hear a lot about the Scandinavian connections and (dis)similarities. I do have my opinions on many of those despite being completely unqualified, but here’s one thing that strikes me and that I do know something about: how many people (apart from Guy Puzey and Øystein Vangsnes) have commented on the parallels between Norway and Scotland with regard to their linguistic landscape?
Norway The official position is that there are two written forms of the (single) Norwegian language, bokmål and nynorsk.
I don’t know what, if anything, will be happening here, but I do sometimes get the urge to rant about things that tweets are too short for. So I’ve just this up for now, and hopefully its existence will motivate me to write a bit more.
Wait and see, in other words.