i've wondered it myself. Sadly, the world of actual linguistics has left me little time for the forum that kept me interested in linguistics when 'the establishment' wouldn't touch my sophomore butt with a ten-foot pole! (see this guy's website for even bolder rantings and his self-published play, 'cyprus,' by briggs)
there are a lot of interesting posts floating around in my head, but i've got no time to do them justice these days. so this one will be an explanation of what i do with my time and what it makes me think about writing.
first and foremost, my thesis! i'm about to start collecting data on a linguistics project that's been near and dear to my heart for a while now. i'll post more about it after i have some data so i don't risk biasing friends who might be subjects. it's about language and technology--suffice it to say i'm psyched!
other classes are good too. in introduction to linguistic anthropology, i have to record the speech of a local speech community. i've picked the CS department. (also, thanks to Dave for writing the software for my above mentioned thesis. i have my own software! yay!)
then, i'm taking speech prosody. we're studying pitch contours (how people raise and lower the tone of their voice). again with the software: i downloaded this great program called 'praat' (available for all operating systems--just google 'praat'), that lets you manipulate and visualize sounds in all kinds of interesting ways. some friends i and had fun reversing our voices and trying to speak backwards.
last but certainly not least, i'm taking an mcm (modern culture and media) class called 'media archaeology: information, discourse, networks.' it's right up my alley, focusing on the interaction of technology and... well, kind of everything... but let's say artistic genre for now. we're reading a lot of great theory (Vannevar Bush, Marshall McLuhan, Foucault) and looking at neat web art. see especially 'dakota' by young-hae chang. is it a poem? is it a movie? no one knows! its' web art! (make sure your computer's sound is on!)
then, my job at the vocab lab (or 'voca blab.' ha!) is at an important stage. we've started bringing in subjects to take a first draft of our vocabulary test, which will one day be part of a national literacy exam. i've been spending a couple of hours a day testing subjects and preparing software (boy! that word again! i'm so technological these days). i'll be writing an article for the indy about the process of bias and sensitivity review that all educational materials have to undergo these days. i've been thinking about the issue a lot, especially since i've been involved first hand and read part of diane ravitch's 'the language police' over break. keep an eye out for that one!unfortunately, it's another blog post that's been lost to the real world.
in my free time, i've been involved with rush at the frat (co-ed), where people do all kinds of interesting linguistic innovation. the most recent example is 'douging,' which, perhaps more so than the rest of these blurbs, definitely merits a post all of its own. stay tuned, faithful inventors!