Monday, January 23, 2012

A little tip for guys who send me messages online

If you want to make a good impression on me, I suggest that you don't:

1. Tell me what subfield of linguistics I should study.  Having written a dissertation on second language phonology is kind of proof that I've already chosen that one.  And I really don't like it when people tell me what they think I should do unsolicited.  How about this question instead: "Why did you choose that field?  What do you find interesting about it?"

2. Make up garbage, unoriginal theories about linguistics, based on your own strange ideas about languages and language learning.  Know-it-alls are not attractive, especially because I have my own know-it-all tendencies.  How about this instead: "I've always thought such-and-such, but I don't know much about linguistics.  What have you studied on that topic?"

To the guy who did both of these things in as many messages to me: major turnoff.


malkie said...

I, for one, would be happy to see some posts on linguistics - that's why I first looked at your blog. Preferably on topics that would resonate with someone who is not a linguist, but who has an interest in the subject.

OOPS - I just realised that this is an unsolicited suggestion - forget it!

ww said...

I LOVE writing about linguistics... any particular topics you would like to read about?

malkie said...

How about something on phonology?

I can be more specific if you like.

ww said...

I had an idea a few minutes ago that might be fun -- would you like to learn more about wacky language learning methods that people have tried over the years?

And phonology is totally cool -- can we get married now? Ha ha. I believe you said you were Scottish... maybe I can dig up some phonological information that would be close to home.

ww said...

But feel free to be more specific.

malkie said...

You're the expert, and I'm here because I'm interested in linguistics and would like to learn something from someone who knows more than I do. Why don't I hold onto my more specific ideas for now and wait for your post on "wacky language learning methods that people have tried over the years".

(Note the '.' outside of the '""' - another interesting grammar/punctuation phenomenon that you might want to write about, and something that I have strong feelings about.)

btw, my boss is fluent in French (her 1st language), German (her 2nd), and English (her 3rd, learned in France, I believe). One of my co-workers (not to be confused with cow-orkers), whose first language is Canadian English, has studied Spanish at university level. And, as you recollect correctly, I'm Scottish - West-coast lowlands.

So I have a little language lab right beside me in the office, with 6 possible phonologies to play with. I also have colleagues from Eastern Europe, the middle East, and the far East that could perhaps be pulled in to add to the mix.

This is beginning to sound like fun!