What meanings are we making?

de-briefing
two talks at Heriot Watt
by Stephanie Jo Kent

In addition to the transmission of information, the larger and deepest purpose of simultaneous interpretation is to generate and maintain common culture among people from different cultures.

As hoped, the opportunity to present on my dissertation fieldwork in-progress forced my brain to synthesize the trends and patterns that I have … Read more...

An Outsider in the Maelstrom

European Parliament
Strasbourg
drafted 10 February 2009

Dutch has two words for foreigner. It seems that one is a generic label (buitenlander or “alien”) and the other (vreemdelingen) emphasizes – just slightly? – the strangeness of someone from another land. If I ever develop a respectable degree of fluency, I will begin to listen for the usage … Read more...

everything as prologue

We lingered as long as we possibly could at the last day’s luncheon after sharing brief updates on research projects concerning European Union institutions. Not only did we have the desire “to stick with the event” (de pluckers belaven, if I got the Dutch right) but also with each other. I keep hoping that mingling will enable the … Read more...

Dynamics of dialogue & discourse

Riding the train to attend a workshop on uses and abuses of language in asylum and migration hearings, I read a sequence of scholarly articles critiquing my main research methodology: critical discourse analysis. The dynamics of dialogue among this select group of experts communicating with each other in view of a wider audience was mirrored, in some respects, by the … Read more...

expressing the inexpressible

Trevize is grumpy as hell that he’s chosen Gaia – a superorganism – instead of either the technologically-superior First Foundation or the “mentalic” (psychosocial scientifically advanced) Second Foundation as the future of humankind.

The moment of coincidence took my breath away. I opened Isaac Asimov’s fifth book in The Foundation Series, thinking I would start to read it for a … Read more...

atoms hopping around

Barbara Capogrosso-Sansone defended her dissertation this summer, and I was lucky enough to wangle an invitation. What follows are the thoughts of a wannabe social scientist/activist who imagines significant connections between the languages of math (especially quantum physics) and human words as they are spoken and written in intentional conversation with one another. You may decide that the t-shirt John … Read more...

“believe the data”

The U.S. Congress is working “to finalize the language of an agreement,” reports the NYTimes this morning, concerning “the bailout” of what has been called “the financial crisis” and/or “the economic crisis” in the United States.
Overthinkingit.com imagines “put[ting] Bruce Wayne in charge of the SEC.” Surrealism of The Dark Knight aside (compliance or complicity?), critique and … Read more...

mere wild threshing?

Walking the chilly streets of Antwerp this morning, I did not feel alone. Sure, my friends went bowling without me (such nerve!), but they teased me about it – which is almost as good as being there. ­čÖé
3rd elephant.jpg
While some of those pals (you’ll have to guess which ones), may have still been roaring (like Fran, the Trader from Haven), … Read more...

surrealistic Belgium

Phillipe, our tour guide, said “Belgium is surrealistic” in reference to the language alliance of the German-speaking population in the east with the French-speakers of the south. Belgium, he explained, is “a small country with complicated problems.” The majority language speakers of Dutch are the Flemish in the north. I will need to devote a single blog entry concerning what … Read more...