17 September 2005

[(p > q) & q] > p

I am done checking the homework assignments last night! 97 students, although, yes, some didn't pass their homework, but still, after four hours, I finished checking every essay of them all! Ain't that something?

I started checking my students' papers at seven in the evening, and I did that straight until eleven at night. I was there sitting at the kitchen table, and while munching at some seedless grapes by my side, I finished reading them all.

While doing that, I have observed that some of the students can be very bad in their grammar. And these are college undergrads! They cannot seem to distinguish colloquial speech from Standard Academic English. Although I am not saying that it is wrong to use colloquial speech, my point is there are different situations where different types of language and dialect are permitted. One would not write a paper the way one speaks to his or her friends. One would not use words such as dude and y'know when writing an academic paper. Didn't they learn that in high school?

So far, most of the students got the lessons. I really hate to see a student not get what the lesson is about. But there was one instance when one student didn't answer a problem because the student said that she didn't have a copy of the book. Apparently, she tried to order it online but it didn't come on time. I got the impression that she was trying to wash her hands of the responsibility. But I had no choice but to write a circular figure on her paper.

So it's Saturday and I got nothing to grade anymore. I still have tons to read and I need to clean my house. My roommate said that he will vacuum the house last week, because I vacuumed it two weeks ago. But it never happened, so I guess I should stop expecting anything from him. I think he never vacuumed his room ever since we moved in here one month ago! Bad...

While the sun is still out, I will go to my office and get some readings. I need to read a couple of articles and I don't want to read at home. The light is too yellow. I need to read about abduction, symbolic logic, and its interface in linguistics.

See that symbol above for the title? If you know a bit of symbolic logic, then you might understand that that is the axiom for abduction. If you know that p causes q and you observe q, then you infer that that is caused by p. However, that is falsifiable. Because not all instances of q are caused by p. For example, if you are in a building, and you look outside the window, you see the tree shaking. Then you know that wind causes the tree to shake. So you conclude then that the wind must be blowing because the tree is shaking. But the tree can shake even if the wind is not blowing, so it is falsifiable. A child might be underneath the tree and shaking it. It's just that you don't see the child. So similar to that, abduction works in the same manner.

If you apply that to language, whenever one says John used a pencil. can mean that "John wrote using a pencil." That is the most probable result based on abductive reasoning, because you know that pencils have the property of being an instrument of writing. But one can use a pencil in many different ways. One can stab someone with a pencil, one can pin one's hair with a pencil. So that is how abductive reasoning comes in the picture with linguistics. That is, one needs to utilize abductive reasoning when processing discourse.

I need to organize my brain. I need to write a paper regarding abduction. I still haven't got the details on how I am going to work that out. Perhaps I might apply it in Tagalog or other Philippine languages. I need to do that so I can submit it and (probably) go to Leipzig. If that pushes through, my parents are taking me to vacation. I mentioned Copenhagen before, but we changed our mind.

Did you know that Philippine citizens aren't required to have a visa when entering Morocco? And Morocco is just across the Meditteranean from Vienna! So there, Casablanca and Rabat just popped into our heads one day, and so we might go there next summer. But that is still a long way to go. I need to write my paper first, pass this winter, and then we'll see.


  1. Good luck on that paper. And Morocco seems a good place to go when you would be freezing at your own place.

    Oh, and since when should we consider pencils as stabbing weapons? Don't let the airline-people read this, or you won't even be allowed to do your crosswords in the plane anymore!

  2. We don't consider pencils as stabbing weapons, usually, because the default reading is that people use pencils as tools of writing. But if I give you a discourse like this:

    A: Did you know that John was arrested yesterday for homicide?
    B: No way!
    A: Yeah! He stabbed his roommate!
    B: With a knife?
    A: No. He used a pencil.

    See, taken out of context, the verb use when coupled with pencil signifies writing, by default. But that same verb can signify other things, given the right context.