A Life Update

For the last few years, I’ve been wanting to offer some sort of analysis or commentary regarding the information I’ve learned about race and racism and linguistics. As I’ve learned more and more, I find that the need for my analyze isn’t necessary. Until such time that I get into grad school, my position is that of amplifier: I find work done by other people (POC, particularly Black and/or Indigenous) and post it on social media.

Here are things that have been going on with me lately: over the last year or so, I’ve been going to local meetings of anti-racist nonprofits to try to find what it is I can do within my limited capacity. I find that my capacity is pretty damn limited due to a variety of reasons: Family life, one car, and depression are among the top. Regardless, I show up when I can, and I offer my services with the caveat that I have limitations.

Things are moving slowly, but they are moving in a direction that I’ve been hoping. One particular nonprofit has been putting investment into me, and I have done a few events for them in return (it’s actually more that I told them I’m interested in doing more, so they are creating a way for me to do more). I helped facilitate one event, which was a lot smaller in scope than we were expecting but it is what it is. As recently as last week, I’ve been tasked to help maintain their website and social media pages. We’re still working out the kinks, and it’s moving a little slower than I hoped, but I am learning to be patient. Not my strong suit though.

I continue to read what I can when I can, which sadly isn’t as often as I would like. A large part of that is my bad time management skills, another is kids are exhausting, and another is the only time I have to read is late at night, and the books I want to read require brain power I don’t have late at night. I need to find a way to manage my time better while also carving out time to read those academic-language-heavy books.

One of the great things about Twitter is the generosity of people’s willingness to educate in 280 character threads. Citing them is difficult if you don’t grab the link right away. I’m not quite sure how to best manage twitter citations, but I have a plan that’s in the limbo works. I’ve learned so much through twitter because of how accessible it is. I feel forever in debt to it.

I have a lot of good ideas on projects and tasks to do with the nonprofit I’m working with the most. The slowness of it drives me a bit crazy but that’s also because I just don’t have the time to put more energy into it, and the other people in the group have their own things they need to take care of. The projects will get off the ground at some point, and when they do I think the community will really thrive. I partly don’t know what I’m doing and am at the mercy of other people. I think that’s the nature of this work. Maybe. I don’t know. I know nothing.

I don’t talk much on social media about the things I’m doing because the results don’t seem very tangible or significant. I worry about coming off as being ‘performative’.  But I am doing stuff. And once I get a few projects from ‘brainstorm’ to ‘completion’, I’ll be posting a lot more.

One thing that I’m involved in at the moment is aiding a local school district into decolonizing their math curriculum. The math director is pretty amazing to be doing this, because it is an effort at the high school level that involves all the math teachers as well as community members. About five people from the nonprofit are showing up to these monthly meetings that are finding ways to refine the math curriculum to be more equitable. This is in the beginning stage, but already I feel like what I have offered is valued.

Another task on the horizon is applying to a graduate program at a local satellite university. Luckily it does not require the GRE. I need to start putting time into crafting the essays and asking for recommendations. I don’t know how I will pay for it, but I’ll worry about that if/when I’m accepted into the program.

Beyond the Basics

Today I attended a one-day conference for teachers called Teaching Equity conference. I wanted to see how the facilitators would frame the discussion, and I somehow got the expectation that I might learn something new.

The day was broken into six parts – breakfast/opening, a quick discussion about bringing ethnic studies into schools, session one, lunch, session two, closing. The workshop I attended filled both sessions, called “Culturally responsive classroom interactions.” I thought to myself, hey, this is exactly the kind of class I would want to teach once I’m done with my masters degree. Both hubs and I attended.

The opening was pretty amazing. A Native man sang a song of thanks in his native language while beating on a drum. The school’s Step Team did a performance, a black teenage girl read an essay she had written, and three black teenage girls who are officers of the school’s Black Alliance club read a speech they had written about being Black women. They all spoke their truth so well, and as I glanced around the room, I could see some white women getting in their feelings.

The morning session started off talking about implicit biases, different kinds of racism, different kinds of microaggressions. The one thing I did learn is about the subcategories of microaggressions – I added some new vocabulary to be able to explain it more deeply. The afternoon session talked a little bit more about student to student and teacher to student interactions. The teachers were asked to think about their relationship with their students and to their students’ families. I wasn’t able to participate much in this session since I am not a teacher, but it was interesting to see how others talked about it. These are things that hubs and I talk about fairly regularly, so we were already thinking about this sort of stuff before attending this conference.

The place where I’m at personally in my studies is beyond this point. These sessions were a surface-level gloss over of concepts I already knew. I was hoping they would dig deeper, but there’s only so much you can do in three hours. It is then I realized that these free workshops are not going to be offering me anything new I don’t already know. I’m ready for advance courses. The hard courses. The ones that will dig so deep that you can’t help but squirm with discomfort.

While I’m happy about this – that I, all by myself, have positioned myself to learn all these things on my own thanks to (library) books and Twitter and articles written by race scholars – I also find myself mildly frustrated that these things aren’t talked about beyond the surface. Monday of this week I went to an event called “Confronting Antisemitism and Intolerance.” It gave me some new information to think about as far as the history of antisemitism, but there wasn’t much I learned there beyond that.

I know I’m no expert, and I’m almost afraid to call myself intermediate. But I’m definitely beyond these beginning surface level workshops that are being offered around the sound. I want deeper conversations. I want the harder stuff. I want to be challenged and talk to other people about the complexity of these systems and how to go about dismantling them. I want the activism to pull in people who want to do more. And I’m trying. I need to reach out to a woman again who agreed to let me do some volunteer work. I really want to get this ball rolling.

I think the session I attended today was useful to people just starting to think about racial justice in schools, and it was well facilitated. I enjoyed the teachers who taught it, what they said and how they talked about their own dealings with biases. But I’m ready for more. Give it to me.

A New Path to Linguistics

A week ago I emailed my number one grad school choice to ask about their program requirements. Although I was afraid I was asking a stupid question, I received a very encouraging response.

Admission requirements include four classes, only one of which I have successfully completed. The others are not readily offered, and while there are two nearby universities that offer the classes, one is ridiculously hard to get into and the other is at an inconvenient distances. Not to mention costs involved.

I had spent the last two weeks pondering ways to get these classes I needed under my belt. I was (and maybe still am?) planning to attend a local state college (60 miles away) for three quarters to get five classes under me (one is a prereq for the classes I need and would be useful, the other is just a class I’m interested in). The costs involved is kind of ridiculous though, especially in terms of childcare. Altogether it would cost me about $20,000 to go that route.

The response from the grad school offered an additional option: attending Linguistic Society of America‘s (LSA) summer institute. It’s four week program that offers a variety of linguistics courses to help further develop linguistic knowledge. To my luck, they offer introduction classes.

With this new alternative presented to me, I can get the requirements I need for a fraction of the price. Added bonus is that the hubs and the girls would be able to go visit Grandma and Grandpa who live in CA. If I can spend the next year saving up the money we need for the summer institute / mini vacation, I can plan to apply to grad school in fall of 2019, attending fall 2020.

I’m currently reading a book about creating habits so I can better manage my time at home. I highly recommend no one ever take four years off of work if you have depression, no social life, and poor time management skills. I tell you what, it is a sure fire way to make you feel terrible about everything. I feel lucky that social media exist since I have received quite a bit of encouragement there.

As I work toward building better habits, I will most likely blog about that in an attempt to reinforce them. I’m really awesome at making plans and really terrible at following through. Hoping I can change that about me.

There’s a field for that: Raciolinguistics

After writing the previous post, it was as if the universe decided to answer my questions through the announcement of a new academic book: Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race by Jonathan Rosa. I found exactly what I was looking for through Nelson Flores’s tweet,

Raciolinguistics? It seems so obvious now.

I’ve been doing as much research as I can, time allowing with two sick little people and a raging bout of depression. Raciolinguistics is such a new field of study that there is relatively little to be found about it. According to WikipediaDr. Flores and Dr. Rosa coined the term in the 2015 academic paper, “Undoing Appropriateness: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Language Diversity in Education“, which I am currently in the process of reading. H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford, and Arnetha F. Ball edited a book called “Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas about Race“; I plan to purchase when there is some extra cash to be had. Once Rosa’s book comes out, I will be purchasing that as well.

I’m supplementing my studies by following Dr. Adrienne Keene’s wonderfully free course on Critical Race Theory. I’m actually starting there, since I’m forever broke, and so far I think it’s a fantastic place to build on.


I really think this is the niche I’ve been looking for. This whole summer has been spent learning about systematic racism and white supremacy, and I’ve been interested in Linguistics and Rhetoric since the last year of my undergrad program in 2011. I definitely would have not found the intersection of these two topic until this point in my life, but I’m glad to have found it. I will be dedicating any time my brain isn’t feeling like exhausted mush on learning as much as I can about CRT, Linguistics, and Raciolinguistics.


If you wanna take pity on my poor ass and give me a Christmas/Birthday gift (my birthday is December 30th), would you consider getting me one of these books? I ain’t holding my breath, but it would be a nice surprise. 🙂

Using Linguistics to Eradicate Racism

That’s what I want to do.

Been spending an enormous amount of time on Twitter. I’m getting inspired left and right by the POC community and the Linguistics community. But then I run into articles like this (‘I don’t think there’s anything darker than doing a PhD’), and I’m forced to stop and reflect.

The most important question to myself is

What do I want to dedicate a chunk of my life to?

On my POC twitter feed, where a majority of the people I follow are academic/intellectual black women, I constantly see disdain and derision toward so-called “allies” who do nothing more than type behind a computer screen about how much they hate racism, but won’t do the difficult and uncomfortable part of actually challenging people’s racism. And they have every fucking right to feel that way. When was the last time you remember a white person calling out another white person for their racism? You don’t.

If you have, go give that person a high five. If it was you, you’re awesome.

But not enough white people DO anything to combat systematic racism.

I don’t want to be that person.


I am super geeky about rhetoric. Thinking about it excites me. I think learning about language linguistically will give me another angle, a fuller angle, to examine rhetoric in a way that an English degree would not give. Semantics, pragmatics, and a sociolinguistic examination of rhetoric would be the foundation I start building my skills.

I recognize, and am not all that interested in, the linguistic deconstruction of racist rhetoric has already been examined by multiple researchers. And while that research will be prevalent in the crusade I want to embark on, it’s not enough to deconstruct. I want to reconstruct. Or, perhaps even destroy and rebuild anew.

Essentially I want to see how – and at what scale and at what point in one’s life – we can use rhetoric to decrease the likelihood of becoming a racist. Or I want to know if we can train teachers/police/general populace to actively rework their speech patterns to lessen subconscious racism/colonialism.

Something along those lines. Most likely there is a flaw in my thinking somewhere, but the end goal is to use linguistic techniques to eliminate racist thinking.


Is it possible? Has it been done? Is someone working on these things now? What do I need to do to find these things out? What type of schooling/training do I need? Which university would best the path I want to take?


Online Linguistic Courses

Things are starting to come together, but the night time lack of sleep is hindering things.

My husband is back to work (teaching), which leaves me with the kids during the day. I’m fine with that. It’s only been a few days, but I’ve been savoring some alone time in the late night when the husband is in bed and the kids are finally settled. (K is wailing right now as a type this).

I decided to search for syllabuses (syllabi?) that uses the Language Files textbook I own. I’ve found several, and I think I’m going to pick one or two and see if I can also do some assignments as well.

I also searched for online courses, stumbling upon an Intro Course being taught through Coursera and an MIT OpenCourseWare treasure trove of Linguistic courses. I am drooling over here.

I want to get into the MIT courses, but those textbooks aren’t cheap, and I can’t spare the cash right now. Once I’m working again, it won’t be a problem. In the meantime, I’ll stick to my plan of following a syllabus or two and doing the Coursera course.

I’m hoping I can change my habits (and the girls’) in that I can wake up when hubs gets up (5:45), spend a few hours waking up and getting shit done, and get the girls up earlier to flip their schedules. O isn’t a problem, but K sure is. Anyway, if I can have some time to myself in the morning, I might be more productive and more fulfilled as the day progresses. I’m not a morning person though, so I won’t hold my breath on that.

She won’t stop crying, so I guess I’ll go be a slave to my child. Think what you want, that wailing goes right up my spine.

Setting Great Standards

I tend to keep my doomsday feelings to another blog that is hosted on a foreign site, but I will say this: I really hope the world stays around long enough for me to get my Ph.D. Ha!

On the subject of which, All Things Linguistics posted a long resource page for the newbie Linguist, like myself. It has links to readings and videos and courses. It is going to be my go-to guide for self study.

The textbooks are hard to read without guidance. I’ve taken an into class before, so a lot of it is review for me, so I’m not sure how to take notes on it. I had planned to just notate everything, but honestly it’s tedious. I suppose I should get used to since I plan to enter academia. Derp.

Another interesting thing is following a variety of linguists on Twitter. I’m learning so much and also feeling hopelessly lost. I’m find the feeling endearing as I know that one day I will be just as knowledgeable as those I follow. It’s all just jargon. I just need to have the background knowledge.

One of the Linguists I follow posted tonight about a Linguistic citation interest group. I hadn’t known it didn’t have a standard, and I find it very interesting how early in its creative state it is. I’m not a scientist yet, but I wonder why a different established system doesn’t work or can’t be borrowed. I guess I’ll be finding out.

ETA: She wrote all about why it isn’t working. Gosh I should read more carefully.* I’ll post the first part of the thread.


I sent her a response, and she responded back.


It totally made my night.


*How ironic that I wrote this after titling my post. Meeting mediocre standards more like… 😛

The Road to Ph.D. is Lengthening and Meandering

In other news, unsurprisingly I am mildly tabling my ambition.

I say mildly because I am still moving forward with it as my eventual goal, and I have every intention to continue the self studying as planned. However, I am extending the amount of time I am self studying for financial and familial reasons.

The biggest one is that I simply cannot afford it. I haven’t worked in over three years and while I am planning to start looking for a job soon, I also have a family I will need to support. We are struggling quite horribly this month. I really don’t know how we’ll make it, but I think a few rounds to the food bank may be one way how. Cheap meals that last a long time … lots of potatoes in our future. So, anyway, when I start my job, there won’t be much spare money. And what spare there is will be going toward paying off current debt. Then saving for a down payment on a house. Then, after that, that savings will go to my future endeavors.

It sucks big time, but this is for the best. I really wanted to be back in school as early as 2019, but it just isn’t feasible.

I am trying to look on the bright side though: I’ll have quite a bit of time for self studying. By time I am ready to apply for school again, hopefully I’ll have quite a bit of background information to rely on as I make my way through classes. I’ll be better read, have more knowledge, and be better prepared to be a student once again. Also, the girls will be much older and I won’t feel guilty taking the time to improve myself. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. Because part of the reason of having kids is to spend time with them.

So I’ll keep on keeping on. The road to Ph.D. is getting longer, but I was a fool to ever think the path would be short or even linear. Very silly of me.

Linguistic Courses I Want to Take

Looking at courses right now. Here are the ones I’m interested in.


As far as introductory classes go, I can probably apply what I took at my other school to this one. But if not, one of the two below would be what I would take. Though I want to take both.

  • LING 400 – Survey of Linguistic Method and Theory – 5 cr.
  • JAPAN 440 – Introduction to Japanese Linguistics – 5 cr.

I need one 4XX classes and 20 credits of electives. These all sound very interesting to me.

  • LING 372 Language and Translation (5) VLPA Tarlinskaja
    Role of linguistic concepts in the process of translation from one language to another. Attention to both language universals and language particulars.
  • LING 401 The Linguistic, Philosophical, and Political Thought of Noam Chomsky (3) VLPA/I&S
    Relation of current work in Chomskyan linguistics to philosophical, psychological, political, and educational thought. Prerequisite: LING 200 or LING 400.
  • LING 402 Survey of the History of Linguistics (3) VLPA/I&S
    Main trends in linguistic theory and philosophy of linguistics from ancient times through advent of transformational-generative grammar. Includes nineteenth-century comparative and historical grammar, Prague school grammar, American structuralist grammar, major concerns of linguistics today. Prerequisite: LING 451. Instructors: Zagona
  • LING 407 Languages of the World (5) VLPA
    A survey of the world’s languages, focusing on their syntactic, phonological, and morphological properties. Prerequisite: either LING 200, LING 201, ANTH/LING 203, or LING 400
  • LING 412 Japanese Syntax and Semantics (5) VLPA T. OGIHARA
    Introduces issues in Japanese syntax and semantics. Emphasizes description generalizations, rather than theoretical proposals. Prerequisite: either LING 200 or LING 400; recommended: LING 461; at least two years of coursework in Japanese. Offered: jointly with JAPAN 442.
  • LING 441 Language Processing and Development 1 (5) I&S/NW A. OMAKI
    This course explores current research on language processing and development in adult native speakers and children, with a focus on sound and word-level representations. Topics include speech perception, word recognition, acquisition of phonology and word meanings, as well as a variety of methodologies that are used to study these mechanisms. Prerequisite: LING 200 or LING 400. Offered: A.
  • LING 476 Philosophy of Language (5) VLPA/I&S
    Current theories of meaning, reference, predication, and related concepts. Offered: jointly with PHIL 453


These are classes in other departments I could use as an elective. Can’t I just take them all?

  • JAPAN 441 The Acquisition of Japanese as a Second or Foreign Language
  • ENGL 369 Research Methods in Language and Rhetoric
  • ENGL 373 History of the English Language
  • ENGL 575 Pedagogy and Grammar in Teaching ESL
  • PSYCH 447 Psychology of Language
  • SPHSC 425 Speech, Language, and the Brain


I’m pretty sure if I won the lottery, I would survey every class there is. Ever. Eternal student.


Don’t you hate when you send off an email that illuminates your ignorance, only to find the answer not too long after the email is sent?

I wrote to the linguistics department yesterday saying “I’m not sure how this works”, then later that night I found out exactly how it works. Ughhhhh. Now I just feel stupid and foolish because this is a prestigious school and I just look like a dummy dum dum.

I discovered that you can apply as a post-baccalaureate to seek a second undergraduate degree. This is exactly what I need/want to do in order to prepare for the Ph.D. program. Now the question is how the hell will I pay for it. I’m trying not to let that very important detail deter me. At least for the moment.

So let’s look this over…

The linguistics undergraduate degree requires the following classes:


The Linguistics Major

The following is an outline of the required courses for the Linguistics major:

Introductory course in linguistics. (5 credits)

Core courses (25 credits):
  • Introduction to Linguistic Phonetics, Phonology I (LING 450, 451)
  • Syntax I, II (LING 461, 462)
  • One LING 4XX (Excludes LING 400, 419, 430, 480, 490, 499)
Language courses (30 credits):
  • One year each (or the equivalent) of two languages, one of which must belong to a family of languages different from the student’s own native language. For native English speakers, this means one year of study of a non-Indo-European language. Non-native speakers of English may count English as one of their languages. A student may test out of one language, but not both. For full details, see the Language Requirement page.
Elective courses (20 credits):
  • Additional credits in linguistics or related fields. For full details, see the Elective Requirement section below.
Total credits: 50, in addition to required language courses



I have the introductory class covered from my previous unversity experience, though truth be told I wouldn’t mind retaking it (or, as I had initially planned, self study) to reacquaint myself with basic knowledge.

As far as the language course requirements go, I have one of those languages covered (Japanese), which I plan to review between now and prior to entering school. I also want to take Spanish – I have Rosetta Stone for Latin American Spanish. It would be the most immediately useful language to learn. Plus I wanna teach my children it.

The elective courses are going to be hard to narrow down. I was reviewing their list last night and there are about a million classes I want to take. All the Japanese linguistic classes. Rhetoric courses. Sociolinguistic courses. TAKE ALL THE CLASSES.

The tricky part will be the timing and cost. I don’t know if I could take more than one class at a time mostly due to being unable to afford more than that, both in terms of time and money. I would love to be a full time student, taking three courses at a time to complete the major within two years. Then step right into the Ph.D. program.

Guess we’ll see what happens. I’ll probably make another post later to talk about the elective courses I’m interested in.