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More transitivity

My semester has been mainly composed of contemplating transitivity, and by contemplating I mean beating my head against the wall and the table because I can’t think of the words I want to. My current problem is that I want to write about wacked out transitivity alternations for my sociolinguistics paper, but I can’t really think of any, but my brain tells me that they are out there somewhere. So last night I sat in the livingroom staring into space and writing down lists of words that basically read like this:
it makes
it takes
on the make
make it

yeah, I have a feeling that there is something in some dialect that turns a transitive verb into an intransitive verb. I mean, there are things like “I drove (a car)” and “I gave (money, i.e. donated)” and “I bought (stocks)” and those have an understood object, but those aren’t non-standard. I want to find something like that that is used only in non-standard dialects. Like if “I made” meant “I made pie” . . . or something, if “she watches” meant “she watches television.” Kind of like you can say “I wash” and you mean dishes, in a certain context: “I washed, she rinsed, he dried.” But I guess the fact that it has an understood object means it is still transitive. Which ruins that theory completely. I guess I am thinking of verbs switching from straight transitive to something like “eat” where they can be transitive or intransitive. But then there are verbs like “lay” that switch completely, “I laid the dress on the bed” vs. “I laid on the bed.” and “raise” “I raised the flag” “The bread raised.” (I just want to note here, on this topic, that I once almost convinced a group of people that the past tense of dive is “dave”.) So what I am thinking of does exist to an extent. There’s also the alternation in Pittsburghese where “leave” means “let” and “let” means “leave”, examples stolen from Wikipedia: “Leave him go outside”; “Let the book on the table.” So that’s something too. Really, I just love love love non-standard verbs. I want to used them all.
(hmm, that was a typo there, but I’m just going to leave it. It fits.)

Without secrets

Last night my little friends and I went to hear a talk at the student center by the man who started PostSecret, I hadn’t really heard of it before hand (sounds like a deoderant) and I was just like “oh, people mail him secrets, how fun, and sometimes they probably make them up and it’s kind of like Found Magazine!” So it was weird to start with because we were surrounded by undergrads (and I know, I know, some of my best friends are undergrads, but undergrads at Covenant aren’t so much undergrads because there is no grad school, we arethe real students at Covenant. And I know there are probably decent kids here, too, but I think most of the ones last night were just there because of the All American Rejects song “Dirty Little Secret”, which apparently used some of these “secrets” in its music video.) Anyway, the man started talking and it was like instant awkwardness, although I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way for awhile. At the beginning all I knew was that it reminded me of being in chapel. A man was on stage, talking to me informally, but preaching just the same, trying to give me meaning in my life. I didn’t want meaning, I wanted to hear the funny stories. I was quite surprised to hear how seriously he took everything, and I realized that my awkwardness came from the fact that he was completely up front, there was no irony, no cynicism, and no guard. Which is kind of like exposing yourself in public. I appreciate nudity, but it’s still weird when it’s in front of a crowd of people. The secrets, too, I was expecting something else, they read like Hallmark cards, bad Hallmark cards, and everyone says the same thing “I’m insecure” “I don’t like myself” “I cry while having sex” (okay, all of them don’t say that, but you get the idea). Now I don’t know why I like this, but I can’t take that, but they’re different in my mind. So we got through the heartwarmingness and the emo-ness and it all just seemed very preachy. The man was like, look secrets, now I’m going to tell you what to get out of it. And I believe in the wholeness of humanity and the need to know other people, yes, yes I do, probably more than he does, but I don’t think this is the way to get it.

Afterwards my roommate and I were talking about the whole idea of it, people giving secrets to someone they don’t know and will never know. She pointed out that people have been doing this for years, it’s called Confession. I said I didn’t like it for kind of the same reasons I feel weird about Confession. Why are these people giving their secrets to strangers; where are their friends and families? The man talked about how this is helping us to realize the humanness of people, how we are all the same and all in this together. I think that is so important, and that’s why I love the Christopher Harold Cleveland Game and all of those Sunday afternoons in the Tower Room when we would talk about God and our lives and each other and we would realize we were all human and all in this together and hey, God exists. But I think we should talk about it, not tell secrets about it.


I forgot to blog about New Year’s Resolutions yet this year. This is terrible of me, I mean, what is this blog without the New Year’s Resolution post? This year I have already accomplished my resolution. Most resolutions are stupid because they have no ending, or at least they aren’t seen as having an ending. If someone resolves to work out more, and in the first few weeks they work out an hour a day, which is more than they did in the whole month of December from the previous year, then they really have accomplished their goal, but, silly people, they still feel kind of bad when they stop after those first few weeks. That’s what’s wrong with most resolutions. This year, I resolved to finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I had been reading on and off since October. And I did, a week into the new year. So now I have this feeling of accomplishment boosting my ego for the whole year. I can say, well, it’s been a pretty slow year, but I did accomplish my resolution. I Rule. Oh, and it was good, by the way, you should read it.

Books on shelves

I’m realizing that I need a way to sign off emails to professors and non-intimate friends. I used to use “Peace” but that sounds cliche, but really besides that all I have is “Love” and that just doesn’t work most of the time. Closing words are almost like signatures, people choose one and go with it for all their professional correspondence. There are the “Regards” people, the “Best” people, the “Take Care” people. How does one choose one of these words to represent herself? They all seem to throw off the whole tone of my email. They come right at the end and they say “oh yeah, I don’t know you very well and I’m trying to sound acceptable while keeping my distance.” And I know that’s a perfectly appropriate thing to say in an email to a professor. I just hate formality.

And along the same lines of presenting myself, I put all my books and CDs and DVDs on shelves yesterday in my livingroom. I like having them on shelves. I just wish there was some way to introduce myself to people solely through the books I have on shelves. “Hello, this is me: Harry Potter, Madeleine L’Engle, Anne Lamott, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Robin McKinley, Edmund Spenser, E. Nesbit, Susan Cooper, St. George and the Dragon, Edith Hamilton . . .” I hate having to explain myself, casually dropping allusions, as if wanting to have the same tastes as someone else was something to be ashamed of. On the other hand, if I only had friends with the same tastes as me that would be stupid. I need my friends to say crazy things like “the new Justin Timberlake album is amazing” so I can become who God wants me to be. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it makes sense in my head.

Don’t Panic

Big, friendly letters.

Ugh, you can really tell it’s the end of the semester. I work in the language lab here and it was crazy busy today, crazy busy for no reason, really, except that people are panicking. And I remembered how annoying this is to me, this sudden panic that just makes everything worse. And then I felt annoyed at myself because I’ve been doing it, too, this semester. These past few weeks I’ve gotten so much less done than I could have because of the stupid panicking. Gotta get the balance back. In college, at moments like this, I would sit there and tell myself that I loved this and I should be enjoying everything, and in college I really did enjoy most things. That’s why I’m here now. I’m not sure why things are so much less enjoyable this semester. This place isn’t really home, yet. I need to be comfy in order for my brain to be happy. But, whether or not I’m having a good time, I need to not panic, because, for one thing, it’s not cool. As Hope told me often our senior year, always be cool.

(oh, and the picture was taken of me and my phonology notebook this summer, by a Taiwanese phonology professor who wanted to show his students that the feeling was universal.)

rock and roll voice

Sometimes it’s really cool being a linguist, because you get to read things like this:
“A good example is provided by Bob Dylan, who is from Minnesota, in the American Mid-West, and who has /ai/ = [ai] and non-prevocalic /r/ in his speech. His singing style incorporates frequent use of [a] and r-loss.”

This is from Trudgill’s article “Acts of Conflicting Identity: The Sociolinguistics of British Pop-song Pronunciation” (written in 1983). It’s basically an article about how ‘rock and roll voice’ changed with The Beatles. Before them the voice was basically Black and Southern American, although apparently British singers got confused about what to do about their /r/ sounds, because, although most American accents have them, rock and roll voice doesn’t really. So you have all these British singers who sound like American singers, except that they put /r/ in words like “girl” and “letter” (and then they put in their British /r/ too, so you have Paul McCartney singing “I never sawr them at all” in ‘Till there was you’ as Trudgill points out). But studies show that there is this drop in non-prevocalic /r/ (that’s like in “girl”, as opposed to the /r/ in “really”, which is before a vowel) in The Beatles’ music around the time Sergeant Pepper came out. Trudgill says that this is probably because of the British Invasion, British singers didn’t have to try as hard to sound like Americans because they had become something of a standard themselves. He also points out that, although The Beatles weren’t trying as hard to sound American, they weren’t trying to sound British either, in fact, they had more of the Liverpudlian (that is just a great word) features on their early albums: rhyming “gone” with “one” (on With The Beatles), rhyming “aware” and “her” (on Rubber Soul, which song is that, though, I can’t remember?).

Trudgill also talks about the rise of punk and how the punk bands were setting their standard as British working-class music. He analyses several artists here, The Clash, Sham ’69, The Stranglers, and Ian Drury. He adds this nice comment after remarking that The Stranglers were more American in that they are more like the mainstream groups linguistically, “This is probably of more interest to rock musicologists than to linguists, but it is interesting to note that The Stranglers have been one of the groups accused of having ‘sold out’ and of not being ‘really punk’. Perhaps giving your records Latin titles [like Rattus Norvegicus] does not help here either.”

I love this stuff, just makes me want to be a rock musicologist. Funke, do you study stuff like this? What about Radiohead? What about Belle and Sebastian, who are Scottish, but sound English when they sing? Man, this is just what I needed now, school encouraging me to spend less time on my homework.

if you always get up late you’ll never be on time

blogging notes from today (most of this was written this morning and this afternoon, but I am just posting it now):

Okay, life is getting calmer, but I’m worried that my computer is picking up on my mood. It has started waking up in the middle of the night making noises, and then randomly giving me capital letters. Oh baby computer, just one more week and we will take you to the happy happy Apple Store of Omaha. Yeah, just one more week, one week from today I take my last exam and then drive half dead to Chattanooga. It will be beautiful and victorious and I will play We Are the Champions all the way.

Oh, so sad! I just talked to a girl who works at the coffee shop I frequent and she said that they were told recently that they couldn’t bring in their own CD’s because of copyright issues! And they now have to play the XM radio that Starbucks has! This is so sad, mainly because they are not playing the crazy mixture of M. Ward and Tom Waits anymore, but also because it robs this crazy coffee shop of the influence of its employees. It’s less individual now, how can they do this? How will people know the music unless it gets played in coffee shops? We need albums, not stupid radio stations. What can we do about this? Google searching hasn’t turned up anything about this atrocity in other coffee shops, or any public outrage. Okay, back to work.

One more thing:
I am in good company. In response to the second paragraph of this: Amen, Amen, and Amen.  Etymology, man, oh my head!

old times

ah yes, it’s finals week, and I can’t help feeling that Christmas finals week should be happier. Even though I never had time for it, I miss the hall decorating.

and the trees in the Great Lobby and the fireplaces and the post-Madrigals gossip, telling stories about how Mark Geib wore Earl’s Barbie dress and got dragged out of the Great Hall by Dr. Neilsen, and Hagrid bringing in the firewood . . . oh wait, I’m getting college mixed up with Hogwarts again. Ah, the good times, just makes me wonder why I’m here at this “awful school” instead of convincing my professors that I really failed my senior year so I could go back and spend time drinking coffee with Tuggy and Ashley Saturday and going to Natalie’s birthday party.

A Minich Family Christmas

And here is William making his Harrison Ford face . . .

We had a happy Christmas, got up a little later than usual because we were all still watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas at midnight last night, then we had to leave the milk and cookies for Santa and find the stockings so we could hang them by the chimney with care, so we didn’t go to bed until almost one o’clock (when the Ghost of Christmas Past comes).  The gift-giving was a little groggy, but the presents were nice.  I got a big, fuzzy, fraggley blanket and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (which William ordered off ebay from Korea), a Joan Baez CD, because I realized that when I left Tami I no longer had any Joan Baez, and a picture book of intricate illustrations that is signed by the author with “especially by Linnea” written above the signature. My Mom met the nice old man who made the book at a craft exhibition in Omaha, but she could not explain the prepositional oddity.  Christmas in our family consists of eating Christmas dinner, playing with brandy and Christmas pudding for awhile (and maybe eating a few bites of pudding in the process), then watching our Christmas DVDs for the rest of the day.  We got the Cadfael series, Season One.  I was kind of unsure when William told me we had to ask for it for Christmas, but we watched the first episode today and it was really interesting.  Complex, made my brain feel more awake.  And then we watched this, which is way fun, lots of English people playing sultans and sultanas.  Christmas is all about fairy tales and myths and legends.  Then we watched more Black Adder, we’re on Season Four now.  Brilliant, brilliant British comedy.  I don’t know why I never watched it before: Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed, other less famous funny people.  And that was our Christmas, that, plus drinking lots of tea and napping.

And here’s a picture of me and my fuzzy blanket and my crown:

To be happy

I’m not sure why, but I really like the Enneagram personality test. I think part of it is that I pronounce it so that it rhymes with “Linneagram.” Plus, I like the way it phrases things “I must be perfect and good to be happy.” It’s nice to know what I need to do to be happy. Too bad it’s impossible. So last January when I took the test I was a 1, but now I am a 3. I feel this is a step up. I am now dependent on people rather than ideals. I don’t need to be perfect, I just need impress my professors.

type–score–type behavior motivation
3 59 I must be impressive and attractive to be happy.
6 49 I must be secure and safe to be happy.
8 48 I must be strong and in control to be happy.
1 47 I must be perfect and good to be happy.
9 38 I must be peaceful and easy to get along with to be happy.
7 27 I must be high and entertained to be happy.
4 26 I must avoid painful feelings to be happy.
5 19 I must be knowledgable and independent to be happy.
2 18 I must be helpful and caring to be happy.


Enneagram Test Results

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||| 67%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||| 25%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||||||| 84%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||| 38%
Type 5 Detachment |||||| 27%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||||| 71%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||| 39%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||| 68%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||| 54%

Your main type is 3
Your variant is sexual

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Main Type
Overall Self

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Some explanation: Your main type is which ever behavior you utilize most and/or prefer. Your variant reflects your scoring profile on all nine types: so = social variant (compliant, friendly), sx = sexual variant (assertive, intense), sp = self preservation variant (withdrawn, security seeking). (from

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