I have not been able to post an entry for yesterday, unfortunately. The reason for the brief hiatus is because the UB network had some construction with the cable server, and so they interrupted the connectivity right when I was about to sit down and write an entry. Because of that, my download was paused, and so was my blogging. So I just made some pasta with pesto, and did my readings.
Anyway, I am back in cyberspace now, and so was my download. I was downloading Chopin's music last night, which was finishing by this morning. It is a complete set played by one of my favorite pianists, Vladimir Ashkenazy. Right now, I am enjoying the mazurkas.
I am fascinated by the weather here every day. They have said that it will snow last week, but so far it hasn't happened yet. They say that this year is exceptionally warm, even in my parent's place, in Vienna, it is warmer than the average year. Right now, the wind is so strong that it makes these eerie noises whenever they blow against my window.
There is only about four weeks left of the semester. Many people are planning on leaving Buffalo this winter, and some people are actually leaving this Thanksgiving week. Well, I'll just keep warm here and save money, so that when summer comes, I can have a great escapade.
I still have two papers to write. I actually spent the afternoon today, even though it is a Sunday, in my office, reading books and papers, hoping that they would contribute something in my paper.
Maybe it is a little bit too early, but I have an idea for my Qualifying Paper, or QP. At least that is what they call a master's thesis here in UB. There is actually no master's thesis that is required, since the PhD program is a MA-PhD integrated program. One basically gets to enroll in the PhD program, then does coursework for the MA phase. One then writes a QP, which is a 30-40 page journal-style paper of original research. Then, one is formally admitted to the PhD phase. Then, one needs to write a dissertation. There is also a breadth requirement, and this is satisfied by another paper from a 600-level class, which means it must be a seminar class. Aside from this, a foreign language requirement is also needed, which is satisfied by English for international students like me.
Oops, I digressed. But anyway, going back to the topic, I think I have an idea for my QP. Originally, I wanted to work in syntax, applying a theory of functional syntax in Philippine languages. However, when I arrived here, and took classes, I am now deeply interested in discourse relations, especially with regard to the topic of my current paper, that is, inferring temporal relations in a tenseless language such as Tagalog.
Of course, I am still interested in functional syntax, however, Tagalog and the other Philippine languages are basically virgin territory with regard to discourse interpretation and the syntax-semantics-pragmatics interface. Most of the studies that I have been reading are discussing Indo-European languages, and only some are discussing non-IE languages, such as Yucatec Mayan, Chinese, and Navajo. Austronesian languages (the language family where Tagalog belongs to) are usually studied under the light of syntax, morphology, grammatical relations, and historical linguistics. But not in the topic of conceptual semantics.
Anyway, I am deciding later, I don't want to decide now and then change afterwards and then finish nothing. But it is good to have an idea early on.
Oh well, I'm finishing this entry and then enjoy the rest of my mazurkas.