I'm beginning to explore the local music scene here in Singapore, and this past Thursday I went to the open mic night at The Beast. The restaurant and bourbon bar has a great southern country feel with a personal touch, the brainchild of Jamie, who spent a significant amount of time in the southern US.
Mike, an American who's lived in Singapore for the past 9 years, runs the open mic and handles the sound for all the musicians. He welcomed me warmly when I introduced myself before my set, and encouraged me to get more involved in the local music scene, introducing me to some of the other musicians who were there.
After my set, Jamie taught me what the difference was between whiskey and bourbon - a common question she gets. The menu looked fabulous, with chicken & waffles, and a huge burger with a 30-minute challenge. All too soon I had to head home to bed, in order to make it to the office the next morning, but I'll be back for sure!
For the past week or so I've been working on getting my corpus of transcribed and translated texts into shape. The word corpus is from the Latin word meaning "body", and in this case refers to a "body" of text that I've built over the past few years. This is the recorded data that my analysis of Pnar is based on - I've recorded over 12 hours of conversations, stories, and interviews, but only 8 hours and 6 minutes have been transcribed.
I say 'only', but that's around 75,000 words, which has been time-consuming work over the past couple years. Just to give an idea, transcribing 5 minutes of recordings took me about one hour when I first began, including time for analysis with the assistance of a native speaker. This corpus is just beginning to break the surface of describing the language. Fortunately, the recordings have been pretty diverse in terms of subject matter and speakers, so it gives a pretty good initial picture of the language.
When I started out learning Pnar I began with recordings of speakers describing what was happening in The Pear Film, which is a short silent film developed by Wallace Chafe. Following the suggestion of my advisor Alec Coupe, I had a speaker watch it and tell others (who couldn't see the film) what was going on. This gave me a very clear context in which to analyze language data.
From that beginning analysis, as I have worked on more recorded texts, my understanding of the language has developed and grown. I'm now finding that some of my original thoughts need adjustment, and that some of the original glosses and translations should change. So now I have to go back through and re-adjust the whole set of 75,000 words. It's time-consuming, but fortunately not as bad as it used to be.
I'm a linguist and singer-songwriter. I write about life, travel, language and technology.