07 December 2006

Charisma, Yeast, and Experimental Temporal Semantics

During the past few days (basically, this week), I realized that being a linguist sometimes involves developing your aura, engaging in metaphorical yeast cultivation, and plenty of other things that seem not to involve language.

Let me illustrate.

Yesterday, I had a HUGE presentation in a class. Everyone had to present their research, and the instructor made it seem that doing the talk on time and preparing in a very professional manner was a big part of the grade. So I made a good Powerpoint Presentation, had handouts, and engaged in a lively talk. Out of 10 or so students, I was the only one who had handouts. That was just a strategy for them not to look at me all the time, and it partly worked. It also is a method for people who may have interest in my topic to have something for them to take home and ponder about, and if they have questions, there is my contact information so they can contact me.

Anyway, another student seemed nervous for her talk. She commented to me saying that she lacks the charisma that I have. I don't know. I get nervous, and I was dead nervous for that talk yesterday, but once I got started, I got going. All I need was to start and off I go. I answered the questions effectively, and the audience were engaged. Good charisma.

This morning, I had a lab meeting with my adviser and his other students. Once again I was on the hot seat. I was discussing my research for my qualifying paper, and what turned out to be a small research paper blew up into a scenario where I have to run an experiment with 48 test conditions, and running it with about 400 subjects. Of course, even my adviser said that this will be more than what is needed for a qualifying paper, but then the good news is that I have something to do for my PhD dissertation. But it is eye-popping to see my research go into such proportions. Mind-blowing in a sense. It's like dough, when you put some yeast, it rises. I never realized it would rise this high.

The funny thing is that last semester, I sort of almost gave up with the topic, talking to my adviser saying in essence that I think my topic isn't interesting as it used to be. Now it is so interesting I cannot turn it off. I guess one side-effect is that one becomes over-sensitized with what one is doing.

I guess also one side-effect of having an adviser who is a linguist by trade, but has a significant background in experimental linguistics is that one's research becomes experimental as well. There exists different schools of thought within the field, and I guess I am being pulled and pulled into the empirical side of the battlefield. Which is good, at least, there is empirical data (this is somewhat redundant, but then, there are data that are introspective) to back my claims.

So, my realization for the day is that my methodology and approach seems to be changing.

Meet Linguist-in-Waiting, experimental temporal semanticist.



  1. Just welcome the changes. With your research, who knows later, you won't just be a popular linguist in your campus somewhere in New York but a celebrity in the international community of linguists. Mas maganda, di ba?

  2. Would it be great to read one day about your work published in a very wide read magz...at ako sasabihin ko, Uy, Kilala ko yan :)

  3. Abaniko,

    True. I am so amazed at how my research program grew into this baby.


    Maybe. Pangarap lang muna. Linguists aren't the usual best-sellers...