Well, I can’t say that my life has been as exciting as Matt’s, but I can say that since being in Dallas, I now know how to make a voiceless post-alveolar lateral affricate with egressive pulmonic air. Ok, so maybe Matt’s life is slightly more eventful at this point in time.
Allison and I are finally starting to feel “at home” in Duncanville, TX. It has been surprisingly easy to adjust to being in a big city. Most of the time we don’t have to drive very far from our apartment (school is just a few miles away). Probably the biggest disadvantage is that we have to drive about ten minutes to get to Wal-Mart, and we have to wait in line for at least twenty minutes just to check out (we were spoiled living at walking-distance from a Neighborhood Market that was usually fairly empty). On the flip side, there is a movie theater about ten minutes away from our apartment where you get see a matinee for $2.50 (yee haw!).
Another significant change in our lives is that we don’t have internet access in our apartment, a fact that has both pros and cons. Obviously it is inconvenient that we can’t check our e-mail and browse the web whenever we want, and it has made it harder to keep up with Consanguinity. On the flip side (other than not having thirty dollars withdrawn from out bank account every month), we can’t check our e-mail and browse the web whenever we want, and I can’t check Consanguinity stats every half-hour. I don’t think that either of us realized how much time we spent on our computers and on the internet until we have been forced to go without it. We do have access at school, but this situation has forced us to plan and minimize our time on the internet. Being truly “wireless,” we have more time to spend with each other and relaxing in other ways (reading, playing the banjo, and most recently watching the Olympics—in a big city like Dallas, you can get quite a bit on rabbit-ears).
School has been great so far. We have really been learning a lot of practical skills that will apply to when we are overseas. We have been studying phonetics (how to produce and recognize/transcribe all the sounds of the world’s languages), grammar (how to break down words and build sentences within a given language), and sociolinguistics (understanding the relationship between society and language). We have really enjoyed these courses, but the greatest part is that it hasn’t been nearly as oppressive as we heard so many people say that it would be. We are about to head into Session II on Friday (Aug. 22nd), but we still don’t anticipate that it will be as time-consuming as our Senior year at the U of A. This next Session, we will continue phonetics, begin phonology (understanding how a sounds work together in a given language) and start second language and culture acquisition, in which we will begin to learn a second language orally, without being able to use any resources than our language tutor, and we will be putting grammar on hold until Session III.
I am about to take my banjo-playing to the next level, as I will start playing in the school music-team once a week. I am looking forward to broadening my repertoire and learning how to adapt my current skills to a new style.
-James, the younger brother