You can’t seem to stop using the same word or phrase repeatedly in your writing? I understand the impossibility of trying to write a statement of purpose without using the words research, experience, background, goal, interest, etc. But it drives me insane nonetheless to use these words over & over. Anyway, it made me think about how funny I find it when I’m reading someone else’s writing & I’m impressed with their deft word choice. Then I read more of their writing & notice that they recycle the same words until they’re hackneyed, stale, & sort of annoying. Paradigm this, amenable that. At the same time I suppose it can be endearing in a way — a sort of stylistic quirk.
I even notice it with certain authors. There’s a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth in which he uses the word invaginate far too many times. I appreciate its technicality &, considering the topic, appropriateness. But at the same time, fold could have sufficed at least once, right? I wonder what my “token” words are & if they’ve come out through the writing in my blog. I think everyone has their “token” words. I’ll have to reflect on it for a few days. Okay, I’ll admit I overuse some words & phrases & I know it, but I guess I’m talking about polished writing.
I’ll leave you with this amusing video — even musicians do it in their songwriting.
Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream…
P.S. I came up with this idea while I was working & wrote myself a note at my desk that read: “don’t you hate it when… dream dream dream dream.” Hope no one saw that.
I’m sorry for my complete absence from the blogging world. I promised that I would return to blogging after surviving the GRE (which I did — & then some), but for whatever reason I wasn’t considering that I might want to focus on preparing other materials for my grad applications during this final month before due dates begin to arrive. So now I’m considering. And yes, I do want to perfect my application & put forth the most honest portrayal of my abilities & motivation to succeed as an MA/PhD student & … beyond. Part of that would of course be staying keyed into the realm of linguistics, one way of doing so is blogging about the subject. But I am really quite enjoying working with Erica & April on my respective (language-related) projects with them & don’t want to draw my attention away from that. So here I am, ignoring you, blog.
BUT! I do keep notes on ideas for future blogs in my Evernote. (If you don’t use Evernote, I hope you’re using something else equally awesome). So here are just a few upcoming plans for posts:
- Metal & “epic” language. This one’s a bit nerdy, & I can think of, uhh, about one person who might be interested in my thoughts on such a topic. But hear me out. I listen to a lot of progressive metal music while I process Medicare applications for UnitedHealth 40 hours a week. And damn, some lyrics are brutally epic. I mean, you might expect it. But why exactly? I’m going to have to come up with a good definition for what I mean by “epic,” too. For the record, my favorite group is Porcupine Tree & they’re not metal. They are in the genre of “indescribably awesome music.”
- I’m slowly compiling a list of great videos on language that I want to share. I have a few so far, & the blog post is even at draft stage at this point! But I want to add some more. My boyfriend showed me a lecture by Steven Pinker just yesterday that I’d seen before, but this one was animated, making it all the more engaging to watch! I know, right? So I’m going to have to add that one, as well. I will undoubtedly accrue more as I put off finally publishing this post.
- I want to give a sort of progress report on the directions my research interests have taken. A lot of this is inspired by more in-depth reading I’ve done in the course of working on the still-preliminary stages of this project with Erica. As well as some new connections I’m making between past research I’ve done in psychology with April & my current activities in linguistics. So that is very exciting for me, especially as I have to not only fine-tune my research goals if I want to spend the next, uhh, lifetime fulfilling them, but I also must express them gracefully & compellingly in around a page or two for my statement of purposes.
- Finally (I think), I must say I want to do my own compiling of linguistic/language jokes from the Simpsons. I’m not sure if this will happen soon, but we’ll see. It’d be a good exercise for me to take the joke, which is obviously funny to anyone, & explain /why/ (in linguistic terms) it is so brilliant. Hmm, now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’m already coming up with essay topics for when I’m a linguistics professor. Watch out, world!
Anyway, this was just a teaser for what’s to come, hopefully. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who gives it a real go for about a month then fades into oblivion. I’m actually quite ready to be able to devote some serious time to this! However, whenever I consider it, I feel a pang of guilt. You should really be revising your writing sample, Megan! But I do regret that November is unusually busy for me, too — grad applications aside. This weekend a friend from Madison is visiting & it’s my six month anniversary with Daniel (he loves these shout-outs). Next weekend hopefully I can work non-stop. The weekend after that I’m going home to visit my parents in Minnesota — & they are going to formally meet Daniel for the first time (oh my). Then of course the last weekend of November is Thanksgiving, so there’s that. Fortunately I should have the extreme anxiety-inducing deadlines pressing upon me heavily by that point.
So in conclusion (if you’ve read this far), I’ll be back, friends! Thanks for believing in me. I should shut up though, I have to get up for work at 5am!
Megan L. Risdal