lördag 28 januari 2012

Otto Jespersen x 2

I just found out that an actor in the Norwegian movie "Trollhunter" is called Otto Jespersen.
For those of you who do not know Otto Jespersen is also the name of a very famous Danish linguist who I really, really enjoy reading.

They both seem to like beards and glasses :)!

torsdag 26 januari 2012

Meeting Christians & thinking about Love

I was sitting in the restaurant here on campus with my computer, doing some stuff that needs doing. Suddenly I notice there's lotsa people around me an something is going on on the stage. I decided to stay for a bit and look what was gonna happen. I thought it was gonna be poetry recital or somethin'.
Turns our it's some sorta discuss night about humans craving for love. Fair enough, I'm down with that I can sit around and discuss love. (Notice how the Christian signals just go right past me.)

I discover I'm charing my table with three sweet girls from Nigeria (before you ask, you linguist you: Yoruba, Edo, Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin). About when a third of the programme has passed it dawns on me, this is a christian gathering.

So I decided that it would be good for me to stay, I have so few interactions with christians. My parents aren't religious and neither am I but you know I'm open for things, and besides a bit of change of social context is good. Staying in one small bubble where everyone thinks the same is not good for me.

We had very nice discussions about love. We didn't always agree and they had a hard time understanding that I didn't really have a need for God in my life. They asked me who I thought created this world and why the weather changes and I said that it doesn't matter to me. I must add that the discussion was mostly about love and relationships and very little about God.

So talking to them, which was very nice. I must say that atheist don't discuss spiritual matters enough. Anyway, talking to them I got to formulate a few things that I realize that I believe in.

I exists. My loved ones exists. This world holds so much beauty and so much despair. I see no need for anything else. I do not need God's love to love others, I don't have a craving for his love.  I have a great deal of love for my fellow humans already, I don't need to draw that love from God.
I need to feel loved, that I belong and that I can contribute something that I feel is worthwhile. For that I don't need God, I need my friends and family. The ones that are my mirrors.

I believe that the most fundamental thing that make humans happy is this: context and purpose. To feel needed and to belong.  Where ever that may be.

I do not need to know that the love that I feel will last forever, it's is sweet all the same. This obsession with the definition of true love to me seems utterly contra-productive.

During the evening there was this student group that had prepared material for discussion. It was all very obvious how one was to think (we watched a part of a movie about a guy who fooled around with a lot of women only to finally be heartbroken by the one true...).

So I sorta had to play the opposite, right? Representin' Scandinavia and shit.  So I talked about raising kids with people you don't fuck, open relationships and what to do if your partner beats you. The bible says that love is "enduring" and I was also told that one can pray that one's partner will change. To me that is a horrible thing to believe and utterly wrong. Thankfully they did agree that a person who hurts you don't really love you and therefore you should leave.

My table mates were quite accepting of all this liberal sweden-talk of promiscuity. I swear I wasn't too provocative or judgmental. Please believe better of me than that.

Anyway, we did agree on a few things: a lot of people overvalue the romantic love in a couple relationship and undervalue family and friends; marriage/having kids is more than love (it's bills, mortgage, cars, house cleaning, tuition fees etc)

I wanted to ask if it was open night and I could make a suggestions for a clip we could see. They said that it wasn't open night. So let's have an open night here instead so I can show you something really true that Tim Minchin has said about love. With all the affection of my small and naive heart:

I don't think you're special
I-I mean, I think your special
But you fall within a bell curve

if I may conjecture a further objection, love is nothing to do with destined perfection
The connection is strengthened, the affection simply grows over time
Like a flower
Or a mushroom
And love is made more powerful by the ongoing drama of shared experience
And the synergy of a kind of symbiotic empathy

tisdag 24 januari 2012

Awkward Hed breaking a table and singing kareoke

I sung "Make you feel me love" in front of people in a restaurant today. After I broke a table by leaning on it on the stage... My roomie Branna and my friend Kristine are filming, so that's them talking.

I just wanted to show you.. I was a bit nervous so I keep staring at the lyrics and all.. not my best performance but I wanted to show you anyway.


måndag 23 januari 2012

Canadians have no respect for the cold

It's minus 20 outside. There's a guy wearing flip flops in the mothereffing SNOW.

This is my friend in way to little clothing feeling slightly embarrassed that I said "stand still I wanna take a photo and show my dad".

måndag 16 januari 2012

The Red River

Today is around minus 20.


We're gonna play hockey on the pond in front of the university.
That's how awesome we are.
Canada ftw!

(See previous post if confused.)

tisdag 10 januari 2012


I've just been and picked up a bunch of grammars.
This university has an awesome library service.

1) regular students can request books down to the circulation desk, even if the books are available on the shelfs of that same library. This is awesome if you, like me, need a lot of books from different sections of the library.

2) I get to keep them until april 1st even though I'm not staff. Unless someone requests the book that is. How awesome is that?!

3) there is a starbucks inside the library. Dunno about you but I find that pretty sweet.

4) I was able to download 13 grammars through the library in a very nice PDF-format and I can view about 10 online. (Unlike SU that has a deal with JSTOR that fucks up the readability severely).

So I requested 22 books yesterday and I was just there and picked 'em up. How sweet is that.

Some people put up pictures of their outfit of the day.. I wanna show you my books!

I haven't looked in all of the in a great detail, I just got back. But I know from previous experience that the Tagalog reference grammar from Schachter & Otanes (1972)
is very, very good.
I expect the well-cited Derbyshire (1993), Li&Thompson (1981), Hewitt (1995)
and Herrity (2000) to be something out of the ordinary aswell.
Perhaps surprisingly the prize for the best cover goes to the, for me,
totally unkown Björkhagen (1962)

Isn't that pretty? I think it is. 60's design is very often very good.

Unusual position

I'm very used to opening my home to guests, letting them use our stuff. I even get annoyed when they keep asking "may I do this?", "can I use this?".

Now I find myself in the receiving end. My roomie is being very friendly and sharing her stuff with me and I'm the slightly nervous person constantly wondering if "it's okay".

Things she has and lets me use
  • hair blower
  • hotplates
  • pots and pans
  • knifes
  • cuttlery
  • plates
  • bowls
  • glasses
  • mugs
  • tupperware
  • toaster
  • grill
  • kettle
Yeah.. she's a pretty sweet roomie to have. Life here would be so much harder without her.

måndag 9 januari 2012

"Maybe it's time to get a cellphone?"

Found at the University center:

I'm at Starbucks in the library right now (there is a coffeeshop IN the library). I just heard this:

- You should learn how to text
- I never text!

When buying a SIM-card I was asked do you text?.

These are just a few examples (and not very good ones, I'm sorry)... I've noticed... that, ehum, how do I say this. I don't wanna insult anyone but..

So far I've met more analogue people than I'm used too.

Things I've won

So I've been going to several events for newcomers, international students etc. And it seems like several of the people presenting had been attending the same course in how-to-make-people-listen-at-presentations because they used similar approaches. And like Americans they are very good at speaking loud and C L E A R.

One thing they did was have a quiz and give away prizes. Since I'm the misfit that I am and really talking about what I know (must have been a pain in the ass in school) I couldn't help myself. So... I won three things. Yeah I should stop being such an asshole... A goodiebag from the student union (UMSU), a pair of UofM-mittens and a keychain. Jaay.

Notice the different goals UMSU has.

Is classism when one gets discriminated because of class?

In other news..
If you speak swedish then you might be interested in this post I made recently about the definition of a 'new word'. I'm quite proud over it.. and it took me quite some time to write.

lördag 7 januari 2012

Hedvig gets excited over an old grammar review

I'm looking for grammars on a number of languages. A lot of them are available online to me through various libraries I'm connected too. Several of those I've found so far have a text in the beginning stating that is published by the Defense Agency of that country (sometimes Yugoslavia) and that they are not for outsiders consumption. Yeah..

I found this book just now.. right now this is high entertainment for me. It's basically a long review of grammars of Czech and why they are wrong. And it's written by A.R Nyki and his linguistic skyscraper in 1957, if I understood it correctly. I really hope so :)!

It also contains these quotes which are pretty epic:

Unfortunately, America has been lately infected by a Stalin-like notion of "leave your language alone", and looking for linguistic wisdom in the skeletons of the most primitive and unwritten languages, merely to hide a profound ignorance and inability to achieve perfection in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Classical Arabic and Hebrew, as a basis for achieving perfection in the modern forms of languages and literatures derived from the ancient culture. So long as this stultifying influence of linguistic fakers is allowed to flourish in American schools it would be idle to criticize Stalin's perogruuadas to which the scholars on the Soviet-controlled territory have to pay lip-service, in order to see their otherwise valuable
works printed.

Fortunately, there is some hope that a few isolated nuclei of real
scholarship will be preserved in Western Europe where charlatanism
will not utterly prevail over sound knowledge and truth.
The increasing speedy tempo of contemporary life which makes
long and meticulous research tedious, unpleasant, and unprofitable to
the young people lacking the necessary leisure and experience under
conditions devoid of all stability in a constant flux with the ground li-
terally constantly disappearing from under one's feet, it has become
too common with the present-day students of life who are unable even
to imagine the pre-1914 or pre-1933 "ways of life" tendenciously re-
corded in superficial generalizations,
the increasing deficiency of the human
mind to discern the true from the spurious, mainly because of its in-
ability to absorb a vast body of correct facts brought to its central
evaluating center by a vast net of geographical, historical and linguistic
streams of knowledge.

I've known it for a long time but it must be stated again:
I need to learn more about Slavic linguistics.