22 February 2014

Pick A Topic, (Almost) Any Topic

I'm still trying to sort out what I'd like to focus on with this blog. The crafting's something of a given, and I'm still trying to finish my Shakespeare attempt. Admittedly, that's more for me than for my (very few) readers - it's a way for me to read through the works of Shakespeare and chronicle my thoughts on the project. I'm not a literary scholar, so it's a fun thing for me, rather than a serious academic exercise. What I have to say on the topic likely won't be that illuminating or terribly original. Parenting-related posts will likely pop up as well, as that's a rather large part of my life at the moment.

I have been thinking about doing some more linguistics-related things on here (the name rather lends itself to that, and it would fit with some of my intentions when I started here), which has the potential to be more original. I did write a thesis, and I am revising a couple pieces for journal submission. I write original fiction as well, and I will be publishing my first novel via smashwords and Amazon later this year (once my cover artist gets the cover finished). I did try the traditional publishing route, and was summarily rejected (no agent - complicates matters). A friend who works in publishing suggested (actually, highly recommended) trying out the online self-publishing option, and I'm giving it a go. If all goes well, I may toss up a few short stories from that 'verse for free on here.

Anyway, back to the linguistics idea. My areas are phonology, syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics. While I was writing my thesis (syntax and semantics with a dash of phonology), I got into semiotics, which can intersect rather nicely with sociolinguistics. The interest developed too late for me to incorporate it into my thesis, and as I was using Construction Grammar in that analysis, I also have a working knowledge of Frame Semantics (though my understanding of it is not as detailed as it ought to be, really). But I want to play around with semiotics more. It's fun, and there's a lot of possibility there.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, semiotics is the branch of semantics that deals with meaning relations. Most of my reading in that field has been in the theories of Charles S. Peirce and those who have further developed his ideas during the 20th and early 21st centuries (up to now - it seems to be a growing field). It's the sort of thing that made me go cross-eyed in my undergrad (particularly in a 100-level logic course), and that now I really love, though much of it requires multiple readings for me to start absorbing the ideas. Thus far, I'm working on a paper describing some of the semiotics of fantasy literature, and I'm re-writing an Othello analysis I did years ago to incorporate semiotics (it's funny to me that the undergrad who thought theory was useless and semantics hopelessly boring and complicated was already tinkering with semantics without realizing it). Semiotics can be applied to a broad range of fields, so the possibilities are pretty much endless. I have a large number of interests, so this is an interesting way to incorporate linguistics with other things I enjoy (and seriously, if you have access to the journal Semiotica, check it out. The topics range from mathematics to H. P. Lovecraft to fashion to punctuation - that's how diverse the discipline can be).

Any suggestions from the people who sporadically visit? Leave a comment about possible topics for me to tackle here, and I'll try giving it a go.

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