Ezra Vasquez

The personal blog of an applied linguist, writer, & educator

Month: May 2022

  • The Ramifications of Post-Modernism in Music

    The Ramifications of Post-Modernism in Music

    On April 26th, linguist John McWhorter took issue with the 12-tone approach to music and the damage it wrought on modern art music in The New York Times: He alluded to the political undercurrent of atonal classical music, pointing out the comments of Pierre Boulez and the historical fascist response to 12-tone and atonal music. […]

  • Where to Start with Classical Music

    Where to Start with Classical Music

    Someone on the r/ClassicalMusic subreddit asked where someone who lacks a background in music should start if she wants to get into classical music. As someone with a degree in music, I’ve always deemed the music appreciation curricula taught in college electives misguided. The courses I’ve seen teach appreciation as music history lite. However, the […]

  • What if E.T. Were Your Therapist?

    For years, I’ve had a thought experiment I like to run in which I imagine I’m talking to aliens who want to know about human beings but lack knowledge of human behavior and cultural institutions. In the thought experiment, being fascinated by human interactions, the aliens ask about issues that arise in daily life. I […]

  • Mapping the musical mind: the link between musical and language processing — Music Education Works

    I’ve posted before on the link between linguistic syntax, music, and the research opportunities music could afford a conversation of syntactic acquisition. This article from Music Education Works discusses research out of Japan on the link between music and language. Researchers in Japan have found a specific link between musical processing and areas of the […]

  • Week 4 of Summer A – 2022

    Week 4 of Summer A – 2022

    The arrival of week 4 means I’ve surpassed the midpoint of summer A at school, and the jacaranda seem to have reached the zenith of their bloom. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has reappeared on the radar at work, so masks and periodic testing will remain in my life through the summer, it seems. This week, I finally […]

  • Three Tips to Become a Better Communicator

    Developing substantive content in EAP communication classes presents unique challenges. Elementary English classes can fall back on rudimentary features of language, but advanced English-language students and native English speakers need something several orders of magnitude higher if they want to grow and improve as communicators. So, I stay vigilant for new approaches that can work […]

  • Is Parenting Futile?

    If you want to vet someone’s commitment to empirical evidence, the topic of parenting will rile people like little else. More specifically, the argument that parenting has limited influence over the character of children — a proposition that possesses a unique potential to offend people to the left and right of the political divide (which […]

  • Hemingway on Paris

    Hemingway on Paris

    “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway | Goodreads

  • Asimovian Diplomacy

    Asimovian Diplomacy

    The war in Europe — and specifically the tack the West has adopted to oppose it — reminds me of ideas I first encountered in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit how much influence Isaac Asimov’s writing had on me. After reading Asimov’s Foundation series in the fall […]

  • End of Hiatus

    I haven’t posted on this blog since 2020, shortly before the pandemic came. Nothing I wanted to talk about occurred for the year and a half of house arrest the Earth imposed on humanity. But the pandemic’s punctuated shift to my rearview mirror has rekindled my urge to communicate and share ideas.