june 2013: cake, dialect, digitization, and tolkien

in addition to snorkeling, swimming, some seriously overdue momming, and a long reading list (literature, some pre-fall planning, and a list i’m co-reading with my recently turned ten-year-old), my research agenda remains active this summer. MBDA continues to advance, and i’m writing two different discussions of the project which require serious reflection on the intersections between theory, methodology, and practice. one is more narrative focused (the convergence of history and story, a motif poignant in description of the life and work of Martha Berry), one more theory-meets-practice-meets-tech (critical to advancement and redefinition of the archive, a theme pressing in my thoughts and evolving constantly thanks to some excellent writings which push us ever further into new terrain, e.g., “We are archivists, since we have to be. We don’t have choice. This decision is already made, or determined by the contemporary technological condition…”).

i’m also directing the Pennsylvania Dialects Project (PDP). i’ve continued to localize my research agenda, and PDP is rooted in rural central Pennsylvania, my current home, my university’s home, and the focus of PDP’s research purpose. we’re at the very early stages of the project, but because i’ve woven it intimately within my teaching and research agendas, and because i have some exceptional student collaborators, the study is proceeding remarkably well.

i was rereading Eat, Pray, Love recently (an excellent antidote to funkiness – and i don’t mean the groovy kind – which apparently i still have need of) and laughed quietly to myself when i bumped headfirst into Gilbert admonishing “You are, after all, what you think.” serendipitous? sought out unconsciously? i’m open to all kinds of interpretations… but, however it happened, lately, i’m a little chocolate cake meets democratization of information meets history and story collide meets documentation of dialect is critical to eradication of dialect prejudice, which, by the way, is alive and well. oh, plus: it’s very cool to pull the linguist card when your child is into J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. very. so i’m also a bit hey darling, did you know that tolkien was a linguist… too.