This past Monday I shared some tidbits with students and faculty from the Department of Linguistics and Languages at McMaster University on semantic fieldwork. The talk was based on my experience uncovering the modal system in Javanese while I was living in Paciran, East Java, Indonesia.
I was getting excited about the fieldwork during my talk and talking with other students about the experience because….. I get to go back!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aku kepingin ketemu konco-koncoku nek Indonesia maneh!
This past fall was quite difficult in terms of reverse culture shock. But now it’s a lot better. I am just excited to go back. And it’s going to become a reality in July this summer!
Two full days to stuff your brain with modals: April 20-21, 2012
I recently gave a talk at University of Toronto at the Syntax Reading Group on February 3, 2012, entitled “Exploring Predicate-Fronting in an SVO Austronesian Language”. It’s coming together as part of a chapter. It was wonderful to have such a great audience; I had really interesting feedback and thoughts. Thanks!
I realize this was already a month ago, but I still wanted to mention NELS 42 because I’m still excited and thinking about all the great talks I went to. I came down to Toronto for this conference, and it was one of the best conferences I’ve attended. The invited speakers were asked to respond to Evan and Levinson (2009) ‘The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science.’
If you want to have an excellent introduction to modality and typology issues, I highly recommend Lisa Matthewson’s talk, which she posted on her homepage.
Plus, I got to see many linguistic friends that I haven’t met since before I went to Indonesia. It’s always good to catch up with old friends.
It’s amazing how one year away from your home country can affect you.
One thing that really strikes me now is the changing seasons. In Indonesia, I experienced two seasons: the rainy season (October to May) and the dry season (May to September). (Although, while I was in Paciran, there also was the panas-dingin “hot-cold” season, where it would be quite hot in the day and then cool off at night (as opposed to being hot all the time), but I’m not sure if that was a separate season, or a lead up to the rainy season.) Even then, it was so different between places. In Yogyakarta during the rainy season, it would inevitable rain heavily every day, usually during the afternoon for about 3 or 4 hours. And this would not be a light Vancouver drizzle that last for hours. I’m talking about a complete downpour where the heavens open up and rains down you. But in Paciran, which is on the north-east coast of Java, the climate is so different. During the rainy season it might rain once a week. But again, when it did rain, it was such a relief from the humidity, you would just want to run outside and udan-udanan…play in the rain.
And then the dry season, you don’t need to take your jas udan with you anymore, and you could hang up your umbrella for those months, because you definitely wouldn’t be needing it. It just doesn’t rain, it’s that simple. On the bright side, it’s sunny all the time too. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen. And bring sunglasses. I found that I really needed sunglasses in Indonesia compared to here in Montreal because the sun seemed so much brighter and harsher and hotter. It’s funny because my eyes are light, and Indonesians all have dark eyes, so they thought it was cute that I always had to wear sunglasses or a hat, or both…
Coming back to Canada in August, I got to experience the last dog days of summer, and then the merger into fall with a beautiful Indian summer during Thanksgiving. But I find myself checking the weather everyday — do I wear my rain jacket or not? Should I start wearing my long johns yet? It’s not so easy as wearing a rain jacket for 6 months, and then not wearing one for 6 months because it’s completely unpredictable, the weather here. And I hope I don’t get too cold in the winter! I’m sure I’ll transition fine, but honestly when I came back in the SUMMER, I was already freezing. Lately, I’ve been wearing my winter jacket and it’s only November 1st! I need to get used to this weather or I might not leave my apartment in January…
While I was in Indonesia, because I didn’t have the 4 seasons to guide me in which month it was, I was constantly making mistakes in my elicitation notebooks. As I’m entering in the data, I’m reminded of the confusion I had. I have a date — November 17, 2011, cross that out and put February! And then I got confused again: February 3, 2011. Oh wait, that’s JUNE 3, 2011. I don’t think anyone would get February confused with June in Canada…. maybe November with February if it’s a particularly rough winter, but February with June! No way.
So far the thing that is so striking to me is the fall colours. It really hit me as I rode back to Sarnia from Montreal for Thanksgiving weekend. It was an afternoon, and the reds, oranges, golds, and greens were blazing in the sunlight, against a crisp blue background with clouds feathering across the expanse. Now, when I walk across the field to get to the Linguistics building in the morning, I look back at Mount Royal, and see the colours change a little bit everyday. That is quite something.