hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I haven't forgotten this series! It just took me a few days to write this up. I hope you enjoy it.

Gretchen McCulloch, internet linguist, has been talking a lot about the IPA on Twitter lately (I've been tagged in quote-tweets of both how to type the IPA on an Android phone and the thread of IPA (symbols) as IPAs (beers), and I think what she says about learning the IPA is well-timed for where we're up to:
Useful caveat about learning the IPA: there are a LOT of symbols, because it's designed to represent all sounds used in human language. Intro linguistics/phonetics courses often prioritize more frequently used IPA symbols, but I find self-taught people are more likely to get discouraged that they have a hard time remembering like, all the mid-central unrounded vowels except schwa They're v infrequent, it's okay. You still "know the IPA" for functional purposes if you have a good grasp on the symbols for the sounds you encounter regularly and know how to use the resources of the IPA to figure out less familiar sounds/symbols.
And it's this familiarity I'm trying to offer. )
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Catching up on baseball, half-listening while I do other stuff. But I couldn't help but snap to attention when I hear one of the commentators say "Pitchers are out there shagging..."

Yeah. It doesn't mean the same thing in baseball as I'm used to hearing it mean now that I live in the UK.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I had a dream that, for my birthday or something, [personal profile] mother_bones had looked up when we first met and then asked me if I knew when it was. I gave what I thought was the actual answer, but in the dream she told me I was wrong.

She handed me a printout of this (not real) LJ post I'd written on the day we had apparently met. That was the present she'd gotten me for this occasion, But this LJ post had apparently, like newspaper articles, acquired links to other ones on similar subjects at the bottom of it, other times I mentioned us.

She had printed out one of them to give me, too, and it was a silly conversation about ranking different types of cheese, some absurd thing that even in the dream neither of us could remember having done.

I can't remember the details of the cheese hierarchy now that I'm awake, but I vividly remember dream-us giggling and laughing a lot and being very glad we're friends. I woke up right after that and I'm still very glad of it now.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Washing the dishes after a holiday meal made me miss my mom.

The details were all different for me today at work when I was cleaning up a Pesach seder, but my mom spends much of every family gathering in the kitchen and from the time I was old enough to be trusted drying the good dishes, I've helped out. So there was something very familiar about it even in its novelty (I know shamefully little about Judaism; I'm grateful to the increased time I've spent with these Jewish friends now that I'm employed by one of them having exposed me to a lot more conversations and information about it, but still everything is new to me).

Washing and drying and stacking and storing made me miss my mom, but also sheesh now I appreciate how much project managing she does in dealing with the aftermath of a big meal for a bunch of people. What gets washed in what order, where clean things can be put, she's better at all of that than me. This is the kind of skill that gets so associated with women it is not even recognized as existing; soddevalued that even I who'd witnessed it for a couple decades didn't consciously think about it until now.

Maybe I shouldn't be too hard on myself for not being as good at this as my mom. She has a thirty-year head start on me, but she also had no doubt done this more before she was my age than I have. My life looks very different from hers, but still there are these echoes.

110/365

Apr. 20th, 2019 09:11 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today was a good day. I managed to sleep in, get some stuff done that I've been procrastinating on (laundry and essay work, both taking advantage of the nice weather; I hung the laundry outside and bribed myself to look at the essay by letting myself sit in the garden to do it) and then had a date with Stuart.

We determined earlier this week that we wanted to go to the movies or have a picnic or something, go out in the car some place. So he picked me up and he'd come up with a good idea: we went to the viewing park at the airport. It's a big field where you can see planes land, also see a few they have on display. There's also "British people in a field" stuff like ice cream vans and fairground rides for tiny children. It was really busy today, a sunny warm day in the middle of a long weekend. Nice to see kids running around, people admiring the planes. We had ice cream and sat in the sunshine.

And we went back to his place and watched a movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me, which I'd seen but he hadn't because it does look like it should be terrible but luckily he agreed with me that it's great. We laughed so much.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Waiting at a bus stop listening to the new Lizzo album which I'm already in love with.

It's so sunny out I don't have any pockets -- I didn't even bring a hoodie with me. I'm waiting at the bus stop to meet [personal profile] diffrentcolours for a drink, after an afternoon in the sunshine eating Japanese food with [personal profile] haggis.

A lot of things are really tough but right now the world feels nice and sounds nice and smells nice and I'm enjoying it. I figured that was worth making a note of.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
[personal profile] moem's comment to the post I wrote yesterday got me thinking. After asking how something is pronounced, it went "I'm worried that you will only be able to reply in those characters that I can't read, the ones that indicate how words sound... I don't even know what they are called."

I wanted to reply not just to explain the pronunciation but to answer the question of what those characters are called, and maybe give a little basic info. So I googled "International Phonetic Alphabet" and...I was surprised not to find anything useful. Everything seems to be just the charts, with at most a little history but I don't expect anyone cares what year the IPA was invented or whose idea it was. And the charts aren't much use if you don't know how to read them.

I find it really frustrating that I was exposed for years in high school to, say, the periodic table -- I had to memorize the first twenty elements, I can recognize a bunch of the symbols still, I know the chart's organization tells you stuff about electron shells and similarities between elements' properties, I knew what atomic number and atomic weight are -- and, no shade but...I can't recall it having been useful to me since. Whereas I long for a wider knowledge of the IPA every time people talk about accents, or about unfamiliar words, or even how unfamiliar a familiar word can sound sometimes.

I can imagine a high-school level linguistics knowledge, but it doesn't really exist. There's this frustrating gap: practically nothing's out there between the level of (often uninformed and bigoted) rants about personal langauge peeves and undergrad-level linguistics. Sure there are some cool podcasts and twitter accounts and stuff (that's how I ended up inspired to do a lingulistics degree, after all!) but I think there's a lot of potential for more interested-layperson level stuff, and I thought a good place to start might be by talking about how to read the IPA chart. I promise it's way easier than a periodic table.

How to Read the International Phonetic Alphabet, Part 1 - voicing and some places of articulation )
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
TIL another thing that I cannot say in British English is "Notre Dame."

Not when I'm this sleep deprived at least! I caught myself this morning sounding like I was talking about college football (both of which are also words that have wildly different meanings here, yes I'm aware) and felt like such a hick from the sticks.

But then, I am. Plus I feel that Minnesota has a great tradition of butchering French names: it's more than a decade since I read [livejournal.com profile] mwhittier saying that Minnesotans pronounce the lovely poetic name "Mille Lacs" as if it was spelled Mlax and I still think about that all the time.

(Plus other things I can't say in British English include my first name and the city where I live, so it's nothing personal, Notre Dame.)

I said this on Mastodon and it led to delightful sprawling conversations about phonetics, rhoticity, Spanish, Czech, the Pride I went to last weekend, and a favorite episode of my favorite TV show [link is spoilery for early season 3 of The Good Place]. Kept me company on an afternoon when I was too headachy to do anything else, even eat or sleep.

For all I was talking about America butchering French names, I think it's important to mention what linguist Lynne Murphy calls America's Verbal Inferiority Complex. She talks about it in relation to British English because she lives here but I'd argue it's even more acute for languages like French, which white Americans consider at least as prestigious as British English but also treat with the same suspicion our little monoglot hearts have for all languages other than English.

I got thinking about this when the Mastodon conversation ended up with someone saying "Americans can't pronounce their own French last names properly" and I am very opposed to the idea that people can be wrong about their own damn names. It's a complicated issue -- this person was arguing that it's an "erasure of history when people do this to their family name, like refusing to acknowledge that languages other than English exist" and I am keen for the acknowledgement of languages other than English, but I think people's names are different than other parts of language; I fervently believe that no one is pronouncing their own name wrong, that it is not possible.

And what counts as "properly" is entirely a matter of social context: as a friend pointed out, "Mlax" or /mɪl læks/ is pretty close to French c. 1680. Modern French pronunciation was only just starting about then, when French people were naming things in what was going to be Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, etc. If you've heard of America keeping some Elizabethan English features (which is always seen as a good thing! (though I think that's another example of American Verbal Inferiority Complex)) this is like that but with French.

I think I could explain what I'm thinking better if I didn't still have such a headache (I have at least had a nap and pizza now, but it's still there) but... Because white America isn't any good at dealing with its colonialist history, it tends to think of itself as a broken or substandard version of Europe. But "correctness" is always relative, and the hundreds of years of political, linguistic, and every other kind of change in the U.S. mean there's no way it's going to confirm precisely to the conventions of any language as spoken in Europe.

And that is normal and okay and unavoidable. Notre Dame is just as good a pronunciation as Notre Dame.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I want to write about some stupid medical bureaucracy shit that happened to me this morning (nothing urgent or scary, just tiring), but right now I'm so goddam tired and it's so depressing. So have instead a conversation I wrote down between Andrew and I before we went to sleep lsat night -- or, technically, today:


Andrew has refined the numbers of which Brooklyn 99 characters he is down to 50% Boyle, 40% Holt, 10% Scully).

I said I wasn't going to ask him who I was because when I did that online quiz that said I was Rosa he disagreed and told me I was Amy and I was outraged.

"Yeah, you are Amy!" he said so of course I was outraged again (acknowledging that denial of Amy-ness is probably a sign of being an Amy, just like wanting to be Rosa irrevocably disqualifies me from being Rosa).

"l wish I was as organized as Amy!" I said. "She'd be horrified at me, I can't even write a to-do list! How the hell am I like Amy?!"

"You're organized," Andrew said although I had just proven I am not. "You have binders and folders and things!" he said. "You own stationery."

Reader, I couldn't stop laughing.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
The OCRing of my phonology textbook leaves so much to be desired. I knew it'd be bad at the IPA symbols, but sometimes it's just bad.

One section of this chapter is called "Coronal" (which is a feature of how some speech sounds are made). The screenreader has called it "Corona!" so now the section looks like the name of the musical about itself.

(I've just run into another section called Opacity and Strata! (Yes this does mean stratal is a word; I remember what a challenge that was to decipher in my lecturer's unusual accent when he mentioned it in class.))
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Woke up early this morning to get ready to go to a Pride. Early start to the season here up north! I do like these little Prides though, and we didn't have a stall to run this time so it was a nice stroll with time to get back to Manchester for a late lunch afterward.

It was freezing at first so my bisexual t-shirt (a new one that says "if I wanted to pass for monosexual I'd wear a different shirt") was hidden under my zipped-up jacket for much of the parade (thus illustrating bisexual invisibility, I'm sure), but I had my bisexual-flag striped [personal profile] haggis-knitted gloves. The sun came out and we warmed up a little as we walked around.

I've had a sore throat since that hasn't been very bad, just enough to make me sorry for myself and really tired from fighting off whatever associated bug there is.

102/365

Apr. 12th, 2019 09:31 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today mostly sucked but just when I was ready to give up on it and sulk, [personal profile] diffrentcolours came up with a plan where I would do the volunteer thing I should've already done just in time to save it at the last minute, and then be in the right place to go out for food and drinks with him and his friends who were off to see an Elvis-fronted Nirvana tribute band tonight.

So I accomplished a thing that'd been stressing me out (entirely through my own negligence, which unfortunately only adds to the misery!), I had vegan katsu curry and a nice orangey G&T, and thus this evening mostly salvaged a day that really wasn't going well, and I'm grateful for that.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I walked in the door from having lunch out with [personal profile] diffrentcolours to Andrew saying "Have you seen the picture of the black hole?"

I love that he knew to check this as soon as possible.

My Mastodon timeline was full of urgent black hole excitement too:
this black hole is bigger than our solar system. The event horizon you are seeing is downright bigger than the orbit of Neptune.

the most surprising part of this is a man REPEATEDLY calling attention to how many people helped make this happen instead of just taking sole credit for it

This new technology made a telescope with a functional array the size of the EARTH

The image is beautiful and the science is beautiful and the collaboration to do it is beautiful and right now I wanna hug everybody and talk about theoretical (and not only theoretical anymore!) physics #EHTBlackHole

I wonder if there are any other civilizations that have taken images of the same black hole.

Still stuck on "We have seen what we thought was unseeable" and "...to know that you've uncovered a part of the universe that was off-limits to us."

Heh. The big black hole image papers were not published in Nature or Science, the glamour journals, but the workhorse Astrophysical Journal. LIGO did the same thing. The glamour journals feed an elitist view of science, but it's hard as a researcher or small research group to turn down the reputation bonus of publishing there. So it's good to see the big projects doing it.

I sent my sister a pic of the black hole and her response was “she’s beautiful! Orange gorl.” The appropriate response.
Here's a proper article about it.
As well as the unveiling the properties of M87*, the EHT has now lifted a veil on the event horizon, showing that it is now possible to experimentally study the region via electromagnetic waves. This, the researchers write, has now transformed the event horizon from a purely “mathematical concept” to a “physical entity”.
At a time when we're short on earthly reasons to appreciate the current era, it's nice that space science keeps performing the vital function of making people feel lucky to be alive: landing stuff on Mars, looking at Kuiper Belt objects, now seeing a black hole and its shadow.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
For work today I got to go to a place that does fancy chocolate food/drinks, sit outside in the sunshine, and fuss a very nice sausage dog who is apparently called Frankie. So I am very tired but my job isn't all bad.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
It was heartbreaking to not have time to walk the dog before I went to work. His endless trust and "you know best, so I'm sure there's a good reason I can't have the thing I most look forward to in the mornings" expression get to me every time.

But I made myself a wrap for lunch and dropped the biggest piece of halloumi from it onto the floor, where he immediately snapped it up. He loves halloumi.

But so do I!

So I feel like we're even again now.

97/365

Apr. 7th, 2019 09:58 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I went to work, I had a nap. It's been very Sunday.

I haven't felt bad about taking the weekend off but tomorrow I have to start thinking about stuff again. I have an essay that wasn't assigned until this week and is due at the end of Easter break, what a dick move. Also I want to catch up on all my reading I haven't been able to do this semester: I'd call it exam revision but it can hardly be "re-" anything if I haven't done it in the first place. And the group project report will need some work over the break.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I accidentally ended up going to a housewarming party for friends of friends (including Stuart who'd forgotten he'd planned both to see me and go to this party, so just took me along).

So yeah I did nothing all morning and spent the afternoon with him and the evening with him and other people and food and drinks. It was a good First Day Off.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I handed in the terrible project that seemed impossible even yesterday. One of the chi-square tests still isn't working. I didn't do enough interpretation of the results. I'm not sure about some of the graphs. But fuck it, it's done.

I Very Emphatically did not get the job. "We were impressed with you but another candidate had better skills, experience and knowledge across the board." Well! Across the board! Sheesh. Nice to hear I wasn't particularly good at anything! But it was nice to read that as soon as I got out of uni today. I could go home with the book closed on everything I had to do this week.

I got through a seminar* and my meeting with the DSA mentor. Just got home to start three weeks off for Easter break. I didn't get a break at Christmas so I'm extremely looking forward to it.

By the time I got home, I could hardly function. I couldn't concentrate well enough to remember the beginning of a sentence by the time I got to the end. Phone games that usually soothe me felt too stressful. "Go lie down," Andrew said. "Put on a Terry Pratchett audiobook or a P.G. Woodhouse or something. Take Gary with you and have cuddles." I'm not tired exactly, but I think this is about all I can manage so this is what I'm going to do.



* Bless my tutor, who couldn't find anyone to cover for her so did today's class with laryngitis. And then the projector was broken so her plan of typing out answers wasn't going to work either. she had to use an online text-to-speech thing to talk us through some complicated data analysis. She's so great. I'd have just gone back to bed if I was her!

94/365

Apr. 4th, 2019 11:10 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I did the job interview (I wore my hair down painted my nails and put on perfume and jewelry and everything!). I was told I'd hear by the end of the day but I didn't so I guess that means No. No surprise there: the interview wasn't bad but it was very quick and felt kind of odd. I think my answers were too vague and they were happy to leave me hanging.

I spent almost three hours this evening waiting for another member of my multilingualism group and then walking around in the icy rain. Asking strangers awkward questions is not a lot of fun but we got great answers from people working in two different restaurants. So I think we finally have enough data, we just need to write it up. The rest of my group are away for the Easter break so I don't expect much of them then but the report is due soon after we get back so that should be interesting.

The rest of the day has just been spent stressing about the spreadsheet-y project. The more work I do, the further I feel from having something I can hand in. I've been struggling so much with managing the data in Excel that I don't know how to analyze it. This already is my extended disability deadline or I'd be asking for one. It has to be done tomorrow morning. I don't know how much sleep I'll get tonight; I got about five hours last night worrying about all the stress of today so I would've gone to bed hours ago if not for this.

At least I finally got some birth control pills today, so that's something!

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