Monday, August 29, 2022

Foundations of Minimalist Syntax

In this blog post, I put together most of my papers on the foundations of minimalist syntax. At a later date, I will add commentary. I have written many more papers using minimalism as a framework for analysis, but these papers specifically focus on foundational issues.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Summer Reading 2022

I have been an enthusiastic reader of fiction since a very young age. The other category that I particularly enjoy is biographies and autobiographies. 

Favorite Violin Pieces

Some of my favorite violin pieces. No rhyme or reason, just pieces I enjoy. I learned about all of them long ago while my children were taking violin lessons. I have listed two links for each piece, since for some reason the links do not always work. Nathan Milstein is probably my favorite violinist, especially for the Bach Sonatas and Partitas.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Syllabus Syntax I (Fall 2022) (Rough Draft -- Comments Welcome!)

 Here is a rough draft of my Syntax I syllabus for Fall 2022 (graduate level). I am posting it to elicit comments. 

Syllabus Syntax I (Fall 2022)

Here are a few of the things you can comment on:

1. Readings: Are the readings well-selected? Are they accessible to beginning grads? Are they important? Is there a good mix of classical and more recent readings? Have I omitted important readings?

2. Topics: Are the topics well-selected? Do they fit into the stated purpose of the course? Are there any missing topics? Do the topics selected represent activity in the field? Do the topics fit together? Are they in a sensible order?

3. Pace: Is there enough time for each topic? Should topics be added? Deleted?

4. Gender Balance: Is the syllabus gender-balanced?

5. Mechanics: Is everything clearly stated on the syllabus? Are there errors? Is it readable? Are the expectations of the course clear?

Monday, August 15, 2022

Chapter 1: Early Years

This is the first page of my autobiography, for which I have now written about 31 pages. If there is interest, I will post further installments as time goes on.

Brainstorming about Poverty Relief in Rural Botswana

In this blog post, I present some ideas on poverty relief in rural Botswana. These ideas are the result of regular trips to Botswana since 1996.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Photos of Summer 2022 Cua Expedition

A few photos of our recent NSF funded expedition in Botswana to document Cua, a central Khoisan (Khoe-Kwadi) language. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Summary of Fieldwork Skills for Cua NSF Project

In July 2022, we focused on lexical and syntactic elicitation. We recorded only a small amount of video since Zach and I already obtained a large amount in 2019. We did not do work with ELAN or with oral texts during this session. That is why ELAN is not listed below.

In the list below, I focus on fieldwork skills. The grammar content areas we covered can be found in the table of contents of Collins and Chebanne 2017.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Essential Properties of a Descriptive Grammar

1. Accuracy

Are the words and sentences transcribed accurately?

Are generalizations stated in the grammar accurate? 

2. Clarity

Are the generalizations stated clearly and non-technically?

Are the descriptions and explanations clear and non-technical?

3. Readability

Is the grammar organized to maximize readability?

(examples, text, order of chapters, order of sections, etc.)

4. Combinatorial Richness

Does the grammar report on the existence of combinatorially possible forms?

5. Thematic Richness

Does the grammar cover constructions characteristic of the region?

Does the grammar cover constructions characteristic of the language family?

Does the grammar cover the usual categories of a descriptive grammar? 

Does the grammar miss important constructions?

6. Insightfulness

Does the discussion in the grammar represent a deep understanding of what is going on in the language? Or is it just a list of sections, each containing illustrative examples?

Summer 2022 Fieldwork by the Numbers

During June (last week) and July (the entire month) of 2022, we (Andrea, Olivia and I) did fieldwork on Cua, an endangered central Khoisan language spoken in southeastern Botswana. We did the fieldwork in Gaborone and Diphuduhudu.