Himalayan Languages Symposium
Yesterday afternoon I gave a talk at the Himalayan Languages Symposium, which was held this year at NTU. It's the 20th meeting, and has generally focused on languages of the Himalayan region, which is a pretty broad area when you consider that the Himalayan range stretches from Pakistan to Burma. That's a heck of a lot of languages.
It was a really great conference, thanks to clear papers and engagement on a variety of topics. Phonetics and phonology of individual languages, historical reconstruction, ancient Tibetan, theoretical implications of marking patterns, field reports, typological surveys, Nepali Sign language, child language acquisition, and sociolinguistic studies were only some of the areas covered in the talks. One of the most interesting to me was a report by Anvita Abbi on the languages of Great Andaman, an island in the Andaman-Nicobar chain. These languages are an isolated group that remain unclassified and are in danger of extinction. I'll have to write a separate blog post to explain my fascination.
My talk was on deictic demonstratives in Pnar and the neighboring languages of northeast India. Look for a follow-up post in the next couple days that explains a bit more. For now, I'll just say that it was a great conference and it's back to the thesis in the coming week.
Image Credit: ICIMOD
Over the coming weeks I plan to feature different people or groups of people who have helped make this album a reality. And where better to start than with the people I first started working with in Singapore?
I moved to Singapore in August of 2010 to begin a PhD in Linguistics, and I had been demoing tracks in the US before I came, following a series of small tours and shows in 2009. I usually do my own recording and engineering, but coming to Singapore meant that I could only bring a couple bags, so all my equipment was left behind. In my first semester, once the dust had settled and I knew my way around, more or less, I started searching for a place to record. I found SoundFarm Production Studios on the web and went to meet them.
It turns out that the studio had only recently begun, as a sort of side project that was rapidly turning into a full-blown business. Their equipment was really good, their room was nice, and they were open to experimentation. Reuben Raman was the main engineer I worked with, but as time went on I met Mandric Tan, Sikai Goh, and their mentor Geoffrey Low. I started recording with them in October of 2010, and over a weekend we were able to record most of the guitar parts for the album, and demo the vocals. I went back to the US that Christmas, where I then tracked drums, rhodes, and organ with friends in Lancaster. More on them next.
I'm a linguist and singer-songwriter. I write about life, travel, language and technology.