Languishing in Linguistics

Since the start of the semester I have spent my time tackling an unexpected adversary in the form of Linguistics 1, which is an introduction to linguistics. Having left the mind-boggling world of Japanese, I had thought I’d be on more solid ground with linguistics. I was wrong.

Whilst we do learn linguistics through English, this does not give any advantage to a native english speaker in terms of the IPA, and we didn’t even learn all of the phonemes of the IPA, nor did we learn from any other phonetic alphabets, and there are a lot.

When doing a project for linguistics on phonetic transcription I found myself having to dip into two or three other Phonetic Alphabets, either because I had a mish mash of British English and Irish English, but more likely because I’ve watched enough TV that it’s been thrown into my everyday speech for the fun of it. If I had known that watching TV Marathon’s would make my phonetics project more complicated, I probably would have waited to have started doing my marathoning during the written exams.

Now, at the end of it all, and 11 weeks on in Linguistics, my mind is still boggled. Like any foreign alphabet or writing system you learn, there’s a sad excitement in picking up the dictionary and being able to see the squiggly lines beside the words as actual characters with real and relevant meaning. That doesn’t help much with everything else…

But since it’s time for revision, like all good Language Technology students should, I turn to YouTube and Wikipedia for help with my study. Handy thing the internet.


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