Approaching: Linguistics!

Studying at an open university course means many things nowadays. I don’t know if it compares to regular studies at the humanities department, but we have a whole lot of individual studies. Compared to the time I was a full & first time student here at the university of Oulu we don’t have that many contact studies now. Language and philology studies used to be much more contact oriented. There was a requirement of 80% participation in classes. This Basics Studies 25ECTS course is very different and requires plenty of individual study in the form of reading papers, writing essays and reviewing peer work.

Today I read a paper (sociology) for our Approaches to linguistics course, a course that appeared out of nowhere. We thought all our courses were visible in Optima, our digital learning environment, but haha- No! This individual study course had gone into hiding and one of our teachers notified us last weekend, during our workshops. I hate surprises. I thought I had a plan and that I was well ahead of that plan. This course appearing out of the blue is not catastrophic, but it’s 9 more papers on linguistics to read and a learning journal to write.

I started with Spolsky’s Styles, gender, and social class and jotted something down in what I call “my learning journal”. It’s a bit like this blog, but more academic ( I hope!). I like sociolinguistics and this particular, well-written paper was a joy to read. It was edutaining.

There was something in that paper that I liked very much. Spolsky wrote about the role of language in social bonding and how speakers seem to be “moving in the same rhythm” when they unconsciously adapt their speech to each other. Moving in the same rhythm – that’s exactly how it feels when you talk to someone you bond with! It’s like a dance.

Sometimes it feels a bit laborious to study this much individually because you don’t get to bond with fellow students so much by talking. Nothing really stops us from talking and discussing studies, but with people scattered around and some people working full-time jobs, it doesn’t happen too often. It’s also different to sit in the humanities cafeteria if you compare it to WhatsApp-conversations.

At the moment I hope there won’t be new surprise-assignments coming up. My calendar starts to fill up with TODO items to be done before mid-June. I have countless academic papers and novels to read, essays and learning journals to produce. I’m also trying to find a job, which IS time-consuming. I try to keep up with different job boards to see if there are any suitable openings. I sometimes wonder if I have too fuzzy goals for actually landing a new job (yet)? Well, no luck so far, but busy days reading and writing – essays and applications.


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