The sun is always shinier

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

This week’s devastating-news-slash-first-world-problem: I got my towns confused on Yahoo Weather and it turns out next week’s conference location is not going to be 30 degrees plus but instead 11 and raining. I’m off to Santiago de Compostela, which, you will note, is in northern Spain. And no, I didn’t get it confused with Santiago, Chile. That would be too easy. Instead Yahoo made the baffling jump to a place called ‘Spain, Georgia’, or possibly ‘Georgia, Spain’ – since the words were on different lines it wasn’t clear which was the town and which the country. In fact, it was the town of Spain, state of Georgia, United States. Since even Wikipedia hasn’t heard of it, everything about the place shall remain a mystery – except, of course, that is has lovely weather.

Statistics: making lives better

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

Recently, the quality of my life significantly statistically improved. For the scientists out there, that’s not a mistake – I don’t mean ‘statistically significantly’. What I mean is: a new statistical technique entered my life and now my life is better. And when I say ‘my life’, I mean my PhD, by which of course I mean my life. Thanks to my newfound intimate relationship with the R function ‘chisqPostHoc’, I am bouncing out of bed every morning like a kid at Christmas. Researchers out there who have ever accidentally stumbled across the perfect solution to all their statistical problems will know exactly how I feel. I am testing things for significance just because I can. Did you know herbal tea cools down at a non-statistically significant slower rate than Earl Grey? You didn’t, but now you do, and I’ll bet your life is now better too.

The Bahn and the bazooka

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

Germans seem to shy away from heavy weaponry these days. A few weeks ago I caught the train to a conference in Freiburg, where I was giving a talk and presenting a poster (yes, both – sigh). Before I left, the man in the print shop showed me two types of protective cases to stop my poster getting crushed. If I was going to America, he warned, I’d best not take the case that looks like a giant bazooka – it’ll take days to be let into the country. Since I wasn’t going to America and I quite fancied the thought of myself as an itinerant mercenary rather than a travelling linguist, I naturally went for the bazooka-style option. And surprise, I got the four-person seats with table and power outlets all to myself, all the way. Thank you, Deutsche Bahn.

Haaartstikke bedankt!

To the nearly 1700 people who have filled out my questionnaire so far, a huge thank you. And to those of you who kindly passed it on to others, an even bigger thank you! (See my original post on the questionnaire.) I’m thrilled to have received so many responses. The questionnaire is still live until 1 October, so if you haven’t done so already there’s another month to fill it in or forward it around and about.

As there is, not surprisingly, rather a large skew towards the younger, tech-savvy end of the scale, I’m particularly after older people – and people who are less than impressed by the influx of English in the Netherlands!

Many of you were curious about section III of the questionnaire, where you had to complete a grammaticality judgement task. In short, people were keen to know whether they got the answers ‘right’ or not. As the questionnaire is still live I can’t post anything about that yet, but I’ll be sure to at a later date, along with the results from the other sections too.

Thanks again for your participation!