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

Author: Ezra Vasquez

  • Edge Effect — Conversation Analysis and Art Criticism

    Edge Effect — Conversation Analysis and Art Criticism

    I returned today from my first post-pandemic visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. I enjoy visiting museums, but I always wish the visits were more productive. This post represents the fruits of that impulse. My trade is applied linguistics, so I considered what insights can be gleaned from the world of art by…

  • The Pragmatics of Greeting Cards

    The Pragmatics of Greeting Cards

    I’m writing this around the holidays, so I wanted to examine a mainstay of the holiday season from a linguistic perspective. The greeting card occupies a peculiar niche in the social fabric of modern society. Why do we buy cards with sentiments written by strangers to no one in particular in order to express personal…

  • As Good a Description of Twitter as You Will Find

    As Good a Description of Twitter as You Will Find

    I’ve long said [Twitter] started out as a water-cooler, then it became a stage where we were all performing, and then one day it was a fight club. And you had to fight. What To Do About Twitter? – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

  • Barbara Ehrenreich – A Rare Good-Faith Intellectual – Dies

    Barbara Ehrenreich, the author, activist and self-described “myth buster” who in such notable works as “Nickel and Dimed” and “Bait and Switch” challenged conventional thinking about class, religion and the very idea of an American dream, has died at age 81. Barbara Ehrenreich, Activist and ‘Myth Busting’ Writer of ‘Nickel and Dimed,’ Dies – NBC…

  • Heinlein on Education

    Heinlein on Education

    “One can lead a child to knowledge but one cannot make him think.” Heinlein, Robert A.. Starship Troopers (p. 27). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

  • 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…