Monday, April 8, 2013

A busy day.  I had planned to meet Matti, my sponsoring colleague, for lunch and call it a day.  We had an interesting and productive meeting (and a good lunch) and in the course of it, we decided I'd observe his 1:00 seminar. While it was in Finnish, observing interaction "without content" raised some interesting questions about what "counts as a contribution" without the necessary interpretation of a native speaker regarding any bid to contribute to the discussion.  The necessary task of   "punctuating" the interaction by the observer was very clear to me--some student talk seemed to be commentary on a topic or an elaboration of another student's contribution or a repair of the student's own contribution, but I couldn't be sure.  My point is that when I observe in English, I make those judgments, easily determining what counts, and what its function was; variability in length is not a problem to deal with in the native language, but it is when you don't speak it. So, we are confronted with a methodological problem that needs further consideration.

On the way to the university this morning, I turned a corner and was surprised to see a street that could have been taken right out of Newcastle Upon Tyne. (This will be most meaningful to Daria.)
This pedestrian mall looks almost exactly like Newcastle's--especially in winter!
By the way, notice all the bicycles...none were locked. Folks just park them and get about their business.  They wouldn't last an hour in Sacramento!
This is the outside of the building in which I am living. The snow is much more evident here. 

The entrance to my humble abode.  Later, I'll post a picture of the sauna downstairs and the storage unit a kind of "root cellar" (mostly unused now) that Matti told me was built in back in the days when "Finland was poor."  The economic improvement is marked by disuse of the room for potatoes! Very interesting material/discursive phenomenon!

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