Archive for the ‘work’ Category

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Paraphrased conversation

February 19, 2008

Colleague (slightly worriedly) : So how did your meeting with the supervisor go??
Me: It went really well, as a matter of fact. I have lots to do still, of course, and she still isn’t completely happy with my structure, though it’s improved since the previous version.
Colleague (encouragingly) : Well that’s excellent.
Me: *giggles*
Colleague (suspiciously) : What are you laughing at?
Me: Oh, just, she was telling me a funny story about when you wrote your thesis…
Colleague (in mock outrage) : There was NOTHING FUNNY about when I wrote my thesis!!

So yeah, it’s going ok. I am trying not to focus on where I ought to have been by now, and more on how to get to where I need to be. (My supervisor is really good at helping with that kind of focusing. There wouldn’t be any point in her berating me for being tardy, because I beat myself up over that with great skill, but that doesn’t stop lots of other supervisors from doing that sort of thing to their students anyway.) And apparently the issues I have right now are the ones everybody has been through, whatever they try to claim afterwards.

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August 27, 2007

Not dead. Nor am I a PhD. The latter will hopefully happen before the former.

Yes, I will start writing here again 🙂

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February 23, 2007

This is a research moan. It is mine and belongs to me.

I am revising my three data chapters — three out of the four central chapters of the thesis, as a matter of fact — to be able to send them to my supervisor, get her approval and then be able to send them to the seminar participants by Monday at the latest. (The seminar is on the 7th, but if people are to read three chapters they do need to get more than a week cos some of them also have other things to do. Weird, I know, but there you have it.) And the chapters are essentially complete and finished, but when I am going through the email chapter one final time I start thinking things such as “Can I use the word genre here?” and spend half an hour looking up everything I can on genre research, and read things like this paper and realise that I don’t really know enough to know whether I can use the term or not. Except in a lot of papers, people seem to be using the term without analysing it in minute detail. I have read Swales on genres at some point, but it is all so very far away in my mind right now.

And then there are gender-related issues. Which is something I have never been interested in but it would be plain bad research to just ignore them; I can get away without doing any gender analysis in the chat room chapter since it is impossible to know the genders of the participants for certain, but the weblogs and emails are another thing. And I don’t know anything about the differences between how men and women communicate or what the researchers say about it (except the very basic stuff from the general sociolinguistics course I took a couple of years ago), and I feel that I should take a month or three to actually get acquainted with that — but that is impossible of course.

Oh, and then there is the whole question of quoting from the material. The praxis seems to be that you really need the consent of the language producers, but in the case of the email material that isn’t possible. The same goes for most of the chat material, of course. And most of the bloggers I’ve written to ask for consent haven’t answered. In the previous seminars people have clamoured for more examples, but instead I may have to take out most of the ones I do have. Can I use fictitious examples, if I take care to construct the noun phrases exactly the same way they were in the actual examples? (I am reading up on this, and also consulting people who have experience with this kind of problem, but I want it to be solved as of last month, so I don’t have to tinker any more with the examples because that kind of work is tedious as well as worrying. Especially when I have to renumber all the examples in the 35-page email chapter yet again.)

And have I really read everything I ought to read? The answer to that is certainly “no” and that bothers me, and I am worried that I have missed some very basic stuff. And my knowledge of discourse analysis theory is not at all good. Oh my paws and whiskers.

Also, I got very little sleep last night.

This is my research moan which is mine and belongs to me and is related to my thesis, but am I the only one who has ever had this kind of worry?

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January 17, 2007

It suddenly struck me that the other day was the 15th, which was the date when the IPrA were going to decide which submitted papers they would accept, for the 10th International Pragmatics Conference. So I logged in, and found that my Pending status was changed to Accepted. So there I’ll be, lecturing on the use of address phrases in email to the big-name pragmaticists of the world. Eek but also yay.

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March 15, 2006

“Those who can’t, teach.” Well, I’ve taught my first class — and I guess I learnt something from it.

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March 4, 2006

I finished my Master of Arts degree in December, 1998, by submitting and getting a Passing grade for my paper in library and information science. Today I picked up the degree certificate. I am the queen of procrastination! Given that it won’t be that many years (I hope) before I get a much prettier diploma saying I’m a PhD*, it might seem a little unnecessary. But the department secretary has asked for us all to show our degree papers, which meant I kind of needed a paper to show. The funny thing is that here, at this job, my degree doesn’t make any difference to my pay, it’s just a matter of what letters they put in the university phone book; whereas at my former job it was a substantial difference in pay — but there they didn’t ask to see the diploma, they took my word for it.

It’s a rather nice-looking piece of paper though, with my full name, an embossed seal** and a water-mark and everything. If I remember it, I might scan it on Monday when I bring it in to work, and post a picture.

*Wood duly touched.
**Not that kind of seal. Stop barking.

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February 10, 2006

Johari Window by Kevan. I wouldn’t call it a personality test so much as a… um, not sure just what 🙂

Today I have been working on a Table. A good table, I’m quite fond of it as a matter of fact. It’s not the kind of table that has legs and a tabletop, rather the kind where you get rows and columns, and table cells with numbers in. I know more things about the language of chat rooms now than I did this morning. Not much more, mind you, but still — a day well spent.