08 April 2010

Yay Cognitive Science!

This week is a very exciting week for me. So for this post, allow me to be geeky.

First off, I am proud to let the world know that I have given every member of my committee a copy of my dissertation proposal. I asked them to read it within the next week or two, as my adviser thinks that I can and will defend before the end of the month. I am nervous, honestly, but excited as well. Finally, it's one step closer to the end. The only tricky thing is timing. For one of my committee members, my dissertation proposal is in line with a full dissertation and two other dissertation proposals that she has to read. Life is tough, but such is life.

Second, we are in the middle of a visit by Jeff Elman, who is a prominent cognitive scientist. And I am also excited that I can meet him face to face tomorrow. I can therefore bounce my ideas off him. Wow. This is like meeting a celebrity, except that this is the nerdy version of things.

But honestly, I am glad that I found this area of science that I am comfortable working in. I picked Linguistics as a major back in undergrad because I wasn't able to get into music, and so at the time, I was speaking three languages, so I might as well study language scientifically. But I had no intentions of being a translator or a lexicographer, nor do I care about language documentation or preservation. At that time, I just enjoyed doing syntax, but mainly because I didn't mind it, and that was the focus of the department that I belonged to at the time. But I didn't enjoy it the way I enjoy what I am doing right now.

Anyway, grad school happened and I discovered the lab. And the lab is awesome!

Okay, back to reality. What else is happening? This Friday, another scholar is coming to town. Hannah Rohde from Northwestern University is giving a talk, and I am excited to hear it, due to the fact that her research overlaps with my interests. It would be nice to have another person in the room who does work on discourse expectation.

Finally, I finally got to teaching myself how to use R as a statistical tool. Until now, I have been using SPSS, but the thing with this software is that one has to buy a license every time a new release is given in order to continue using it. And there are other not so nice things about this too, such as the fact that the tutorials are so inaccessible. So, I decided to convert to freeware, such as R, in which I can manipulate my own data, and actually see what is going on, instead of just clicking several buttons without a clue as to what exactly is going on. Now I can get more intimate with the data sets I have. After all, why should I pay for mathematical equations, it's not like they are patented. Heck, I can do an ANOVA by hand, but it is tedious, I know. I know that it is the software that is patented, and not the math, so if I can get free software such as R, then all the better. Now I can do linear mixed-effect regressions!

So yeah, this week is exciting, and this semester as a whole is exciting as well. Hopefully, by the end of this semester, I would be officially an ABD, and life would be good.

Hmmm, I can smell graduation!

(Table Close-Up, from my University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Series)


  1. I'm the opposite: I have always loved language but I don't like linguistic much... I'm better at translating etc.

  2. Intellectually erotic...

    but then I don't play in the linguists team. :)

  3. Zhu,

    Ah, the world needs folks like you too!


    Hehe. That's a familiar phrase you used there!