Research!

Since the lockdown began and we shifted all classes online, I’ve been trying to spend this time learning to sew and finally get around to the things I had put off or had been avoiding. For instance: cleaning and sorting photos on my computers. UGH. Boring and tedious so NO THANK YOU. But being stuck at home meant that I had no more excuses- and you know what? Feels so great to finally delete/sort photos and consolidate what I have. I was able to clean up my computer’s files and now while I primarily use my new laptop (Thanks VA!) for regular class work and everything else, I now can use my cleaned-up desktop for Zoom classes and meetings.

In other news- I got picked up for research for the Fall semester! Whoohooo! I’ll be looking into how the language processing in the brain occurs with Semitic languages in regards to diacritic marks. Sounds like a mouthful but really easy! Semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Maltese, etc) don’t utilize ‘traditional vowels’ like we (English speakers) are used to. Instead they use diacritics (little marks above or below a letter denoting that there is a vowel attached to it) when they write. In Arabic, for example, generally diacritic marks are not used in day-to-day writing or life. You’ll see it in the Qu’ran and in calligraphy or some official documents. But normally, in books, newspapers, on the TV, signage.. nope. So how do you know which word it is then? If you don’t have ‘all the letters’? Context plays a big part of it, and what I’m looking at is the shift that happens in the brain when the reader makes the switch between needing the marks to not needing them. Why is this neat? Well…. for those that have had a stroke, TBI (traumatic brain injury) or CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) that lose the ability to process language (via aphasia or another disorder) it’s worth seeing if there could be a way to track how the brain processes this shift to see if it can be replicated with those that have had some brain trauma.

Legit never thought I’d be going the Neuro side of Linguistics (had been convinced I’d stay with SocioLinguistics!) but I’m really excited about the possibility of working in this field and hopefully finding some correlation. Super excited to be conducting research under a leading Maltese linguist. I don’t know Maltese but there’s an option to start learning it and I’m quite excited for it! I’ll be focused on Arabic language processing which if you’ve ever had a convo with me in real life you know I get reaaaaaaaaaaally excited over it ha!

About Baltimore Bombshell

A 30-something vintage clothing hoarder who also has a penchant for books, coffee, lazy days and cats.
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