Thirteen years ago today, I became a blogger (ugh, I know, right?). It was the last year or so of the great Age of Bloggers, now lost to history. I had just started on the tenure track at my current place, Wayne State University, and thought to myself, “Clearly a tenure-track job will give me lots of time to randomly disseminate my thoughts about the world and academia!” Well. And yet here we are, thirteen years to the day after Front matter. When my first book (Numerical Notation) came out in 2010, I decided to mention Glossographia in my author blurb – and even then I thought to myself, will anyone ever remember this blog, or even blogs in general, in fifty or eighty or a hundred years when someone (???) pulls my book off a shelf in a library (???). Maybe not. And certainly some of the material is dated. But Teaching linguistic anthropology as integrative science – a post from the very first week of the blog’s existence – still embodies much of the way I think about stuff, and I still teach some of those same articles now – in fact I think I’m teaching d’Andrade’s ‘Cultural Darwinism and language’ (2002) this week. I don’t post here as much as I could or should, not anymore, but we’re not dead yet! Happy birthday, Glossographia. You’ve seen me through one pandemic, two promotions, three books, thousands of students and colleagues both online and in the elusive “in person” I’ve heard so much about. Here’s to thirteen more.
I’m not quite sure whether a blog that has been in existence for six years can qualify as having a ‘retro’ period. But I spit on fascist definitions of retro! Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@schrisomalis) may see, over the next couple of months, some tweets to old Glossographia posts (at least a couple years old) that didn’t get (in my not-so-humble view) enough attention when I wrote them. I’ll note the year in the new tweet. If you don’t follow me on Twitter / don’t care about Twitter / regard Twitter as the spawn of some ineffable entity, then you won’t notice anything.
As you will see (at least, if you view the site on the WordPress page as opposed to on an aggregator or somewhere else), I have changed the theme and layout for the site. Hope you like it – any theme is going to have its advantages and disadvantages. Frankly I was getting annoyed at the small text size and plainness of the old theme, which had been around since the blog’s inception in 2008. This one has larger text and is more modern, and the main headings are larger and clearer (now at the left sidebar). Comments and criticisms are welcome, bearing in mind that this is a free WordPress site so my options are somewhat limited.
Well, here we are again at the first day of classes (for me) at Wayne State. This year my Language and Culture undergraduate class will be following and reading my blog posts here as part of our in-class discussions, and material from here will also end up on their final take-home exam. So we may see comments and questions here from some newcomers from my undergrad class, who have no prior background in anthropology, linguistics, or both, and any of your comments and questions may show up as discussion fodder in my classroom. Your kindness in the spirit of pedagogy is appreciated – thanks in advance.
It’s also the first week for a lot of new graduate students, both here at Wayne State and across the country, in all sorts of fields. So, in the interest of spreading the word, here’s a great article, ‘The Ten Commandments of Graduate School‘, that deserves a careful read not only by students, but their mentors as well.
For those of you who may not know, I run a sister site to this blog, The Phrontistery, which in one form or another has been around since 1996, and which features an online dictionary of rare words, glossaries on various topics, and other language-related resources. While the site has been more or less dormant for a few years – mostly I’ve just been keeping the place tidy without adding any new content, I’ve had a slow(ish) summer and so took the opportunity to get things up and running smoothly there again, with a bunch of new content and a new site layout. Over the years I’ve given a lot of thought to somehow combining the two sites, e.g., by moving Glossographia over there or something, but I’ve never had the energy to figure out how difficult that would be. Let me know if you think that would be a terrible (or great) idea, in which case I don’t have to think about it any more.