Friday, July 30, 2010

Research in the 21st century

Back in the day, research involved writing to countries far distant to see if they have a book, and waiting six weeks for a response, or longer for them to send the book. But research in the twenty first century is not just about online library catalogues and electronic journals (though you gotta really appreciate them!). I thought I'd share with you some resources I've found out about in the last year or so.

Firstly, the more specifically linguistic resource, and even more specifically Systemic Funcitonal Linguistics. I've joined two email lists - SYSFLING (Systemic Functional Linguistics International Group) and SYSFUNC (Systemic Functional Linguistics in Australia). It's cool to get these emails and realise how broad the community is, and all the interesting things that are being researched and written about and asked about. At the risk of sounding supremely geeky, finding about newly published books hot off the press, and conferences and journals and presentations, is really exciting. But additionally it's a resource you can call upon. I got onto it because I had a tricky bit of analysis and I asked the two SFL lecturers at uni for a verdict and one voted one way and the other the other. But the second also suggested I floated the question on SYSFUNC. I waited until I upgraded to PhD so I felt more worthy to address the community. Then emailed it to the wrong list - SYSFLING. However I then got email upon email from all sorts of people. Later I picked up a book and got excited because several of the people who'd emailed me had written chapters in the book. Kinda suggested I should take them seriously.

Moral of the story: find the useful email lists and join them. Even if you don't participate in the discussions, you learn a lot. And there's email lists out there for all sorts of topics!

Second story, is twitter. Given, there's a lot of people I'd like to be on twitter, and nobody quite in my corner of linguistics, but there's heaps of language and language-learning/teaching related tweets. See the feed which should theoretically be right there:
I might've missed it, however. But if you doubt me on the benefits of twitter, read this far more eloquent argument. At this point I was going to link to an interesting article but I can't find the link. Oh well. But if you're on twitter, follow me (@jazzlinguist) and/or follow my group (@jazzlinguist/linglang) and I'll add the interesting linguistics / language related tweeters to it. Or go through that list and pick which ones you like. Why do it? Well it's easies to read articles from twitter on the bus than to read all the books at uni I have to read. And my entire twittexistance was justified by a single tweet on my topic: "NOVALanguages:
Glossary of Jazz Terms, defined from the perspective of the Jazz musician:" It also helps you keep up to date with current, topical, interesting and amusing information you would not have otherwise heard about. And it can put you in touch with a whole community of people, near and far, who share your interests, obsessions and sufferings.

Moral of the story: networking need not only be at conferences. Get on board with the latest technology and get your story out there. It may lead to further opportunities, it may lead to invitations, it may lead to useful resources or it may just be a useful procrastination tool and we can all do with one of those.

Also a few of these sites and people are on facebook - search for Langology, Linguick, Grammar Girl and Hyperlingo. Useful when you have non-twitterering facebookers you want to share things with.

Well that's all I can think of for the moment. I'll post more if I have any more, but thought I better get this out as we're at the busy time of year for me. I have two seminar presentations, three conference presentations and lots of work to do this semester.  Very glad to have just had a holiday!

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