Friday, October 26, 2012

report from lubbock

I'm enjoying my new job in some ways; two out of the three things I do are entirely new. One of those, teaching Anthropological Linguistics to American students, is my dream come true. I review all the old masters, Saussure, Boas, Sapir, etc., and hit the more recent ones too, like Chomsky, and even a few I've never heard of, like Lucy & Silverstein.

This is important to me because basically I've been trying to write a book about Linguistics for years. I have a rather unorthodox view, but I'm not alone in it, and I want to put it in larger perspective. One of my problems is that I have very little training in Anthropology itself, and this class is helping me by forcing me to read textbooks and backup material. I know about Chomsky; I know Linguistics itself; I am having fun decoding languages like Cherokee and Mandarin Chinese. I have plenty of interesting stories to share from my experience with many cultures and many languages. In short, this part of the job is working out well.

An odd thing happened, though; my textbook had a tiny chapter on Enactionism, and when I looked it up, google switched me immediately to Enactivism, which is a biologically-based theory of cognition, so they say. Odd, both that the book (Foley, Anthropological Linguistics, 1997) would spell it wrong (and keep it that way), and that it remained, fifteen years later, for me to find and muse over. I'm using this site these days to muse about such matters; I'm not sure if I'll ever finish my book, or if I'll get sidetracked into a world of investigation of the human perception (which I need, actually). I may have found a new place to dig, but then, it may be late in the game to become an enactivist. I am, after all, retired. More on this later.

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