in analy language yesterday, we has a lengthy discussion on phonology and morphology which i realised to be highly controversial issues in modern linguistics. particularly in determining the morphemes in a word. heck, even the definition of what words are, are argued over. see, morphemes are the smallest meaningful unit in a word. there are two kinds of morphemes: free-morphemes i.e. morphemes that can independently stand alone and give meanings e.g. ‘nation’. the word nation cannot be meaningfully reduced and stands independently as a whole word. bound-morphemes are morphemes that are dependent on free-morphemes to enhance meanings e.g. attaching the suffix ‘-al’ to the base word ‘nation’ to form the word ‘national’. affixes are free-morphemes.
the word ‘nation’ has one morpheme (1 free morpheme). the word ‘national’ has two morphemes (1 free morpheme + 1 bound morpheme). the word ‘internationalization’ has five morphemes (1 free morphemes + 4 bound morphemes). now that is the gospel basics.
the controversy comes when we deal with nouns. in words like ‘blueberry’, some linguist insist that it has one morpheme (signifying the type of fruit) and some linguist argue that it has two morphemes (signifying the colour and the fruit). the problem with this sort of arguments is that while it logically applies in cases where words describe the qualities of the noun itself (i.e. a blue coloured berry= blue berry), there are far more instances where single words do not necessarily have the same meaning as its compound forms e.g. ‘butterfly’ has no relations whatsoever with a flying pat of butter.
where proper nouns are concerned, the argument is even more severe. some people argue that ‘kuala lumpur’ is one morpheme because the word has to be taken as a compound set in able to reep meaning. some linguist argue that the meaning can be further reduced to ‘kuala’ and ‘lumpur’ because they independently carry some sort of meaning (note: morphemes occur cross languages. we do have morphemes in malay language also). but individually, the word ‘kuala’ and ‘lumpur’ does not make any reference to the city unless they are used together. same case goes for the word ‘new york’ and ‘newcastle’. according to the lecturer, this morphological disagreements have been going on for some time and it is up to us as postgrad linguist to form our own linguistic beliefs. we are obligated to form our own opinion on this issue and be aware that such exceptions (which causes such debates) exist.
i have an exam on analy language in two weeks. you’ll be reading more about things like morphology and phonology in the next week or so.
seminar class was cut short because the air cond in the classroom was not working yesterday. phew!
it’s not that i don’t enjoy seminar. dr. chan can be awfully strict but she is incredibly knowledgable in linguistic technicalities. maybe it is her approach to the course. or maybe it is the nature of the course itself. you see, seminar in applied linguistics studies is one course which requires the student to go through a whole stack of journals in preperation of each lecture. ok, that was a slight exaggeration, but i do have to read at least two journal articles a week. each journal is about 30 pages long.
honestly, i’d rather read nehru’s book, but i’ve been too occupied with all these journals instead.
and where some articles are interesting, some are just long and draggy. for example, the article on linguistics history was a really good read, the article on writing was just something i’d rather not spend time on. not that the stuff there is not important. there are some concepts there which would make a brilliant conceptual framework for anyone researching esl writing. but me, i’m not doing research on writing. but i got to read it anyway. not to be disrespectful, but i just can’t appreciate such readings.
i did discuss with dr. chan about corpus though and she gave me some interesting suggestions to advance such research. my current contemplation is whether or not to build an expletive copora. it will be a very worthy research. one that will land me invites as a paper presenter at conferences etc. but it will consume time and what is for better or for worse, much of my brain capacity which is currently being numbed by office work.
seminar mid-sem test is also in two weeks time. so you will be hearing me whine and bitch about this for the next week or so.
work has been incredible! although i must admit that being a writer in an advert company is lengths funner than being a lecturer, the amount of work they heap onto you is just awesome. back then as a lecturer, you are given a syllabus and you just teach that set of syllabus one semester after another. and in cases where you teach more than one subject, it still all starts with a syllabus.
over here, day in and day out, it is a whole different ball game. one day, i’m attending press releases. the next day, i’m doing interviews. then the next day, i’m editing project presentations. every other day, i’m writing content for the portal. then there are meetings, scheduled and ad hoc. presentations, scheduled and ad hoc. it is a tremendously exciting job, but one that demands immense amounts of energy to keep up with. i’m having fun but i go home every night seriously too pooped to party.
both my boyfriend and my dad feel that i would fare better in the education line, at least until i complete my masters. i’d like to give this job a few more months. i mean, i could go back to lecturing anytime, rite? and i’m in no hurry to actually settle down in one lifetime job, not yet, that is. it’s just that i keep asking myself, there has to be something more that i can do than just teaching. there has to be something more i can contribute in some greater way to society. there has to be. i may be in search. but i’m in no hurry.