What Am I Reading During Spring Break?

What am I reading?

Right now I just started yesterday Ira Berlin’s new book, The Making of African America, H. A. Gleason’s Linguistics and English Grammar, Benedetti’s El Porvenir de Mi Pasado for my bookclub, Elif Batumin’s The Possessed…. plus umpteen things on other languages. I am getting into Unit 4 of CLC and reading closely in Close Reading in Russian by Townsend and working on the earliest texts in a book on “Norse”, which is really a book on Norwegian. It’s very old and very promising. I have a number of other books on Norwegian but I just love those old grammar-based books that contain so much text. In some ways, it’s almost comprehensible input if you can stand the boredom of “The students go to the blackboard to write what the teacher tells them to write [indirect command, purpose clause… wow!].

Then there is The Hobbitt in Dutch as well as textbook readings in Modern Greek. Conversations among students are the text in a book on French. What else? Anyway, I’m trying to read some everyday but it works out to about one page every half year. Then there’s the poetry.

In Russian, tons. I’ve yet to get a grasp on what to read for Spanish poetry Sor Juana, I guess, but my old colleague still has that. I have the wonderful Cavafy for Modern Greek and tons for Latin. I would like to find some vodun song texts for Kweyol and I have Villon for French. In Dutch I have that Nederlands/Espanol poetry book and Classical Poetry for Urdu, while Barker Volume II serves for textual reading.

I’m very well set up. Brian gave me a DVD of Mexicans conversating among each other and he said he’ll try to script some of it for me. And for Russian, I have the video tapes and scripts of kids talkings, 3 tapes = several hours of Russian conversation.

Italian hasn’t been mentioned but I think I’ll stay with Cristo si e fermato a Eboli. And for Old Norse I’m reading a saga, for Middle English, Chaucer before I tackle Gawain, and for Old English…. Beowulf. Surprise!

Nothing for Macedonian or Sanskrt or Ancient Greek….. yet.

Notes on The Making of African America

The Making Of African America:
The sense of place and relationships… could it be that Letha’s ability to recall long lists of names of siblings, spouses, parents, girl friends and boy friends and children of people fits in with this. Can White people do this? My own family couldn’t, but maybe that was just them. Do White families routinely recall hundreds of names and relationships?

Look at place in her life: Gilmer, central Phoenix, South Phoenix.
Look at movement in her life: East Texas to Arizona via cotton convoy. The trauma was intense.

June 14 – started Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue. I am a little puzzled b/c I read his Language Interrupted in which he cites several languages, incl. English, which he demonstrates have been modified just short of being creolized by invasions/intrusions of other languages. In that book he did not go into the Celtic influence which he posits for ’do support’ and present progressive tense/aspect. However, that would not fit precisely his thesis so perhaps he left it out or hadn’t formulated his view quite yet. Anyway, the book is fascinating so far and written tongue-in-cheek with lots of puns, very light-hearted considering how heavy his thesis is.

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