First, the answers to the quiz, because I just KNOW you're dying to find out, right? Right?
I'm telling you anyway. :)
1. Which of the following languages have I NOT studied?
c) American Sign Language
I took a year of French in 4th grade and another in 8th. ASL was my language in college, and I got pretty darn good at it, to the point that I almost entered the interpreting program (but got sidetracked by that marriage thing). I obviously studied Finnish while living in the country, and I took two years of Russian in high school.
2. In what grade did I take my first language class?
Sort of answered that already, huh? :)
My elementary school started up a new language program then with 30-minute language classes before regular school hours. My sister and I signed up with French. She was in 2nd grade, and I was in 4th.
3) What was the first language I studied?
c) American Sign Language
Answer: French. Beating a dead horse now.
4) Why did I pick that one?
a) I heard it was easy.
b) My friends were taking it.
c) My grandpa is from a country that speaks it.
d) I wanted a challenge.
e) My parents picked it for me.
Answer: My grandpa is from a country that speaks it.
My paternal grandfather immigrated from Switzerland, which, by Swiss law, made my father a dual U.S. and Swiss citizen by birth, which made me a dual citizen as well. I figured it would be a cool thing to take a language spoken in that country. (Granted, French is spoken there less than other languages, but it is spoken there, and that was my primary motivation for picking it.)
5) Probably the biggest factor in my becoming a Word Nerd is that:
a) I took a class about the history of English and loved it.
b) Dad is a linguist.
c) I worked at a library.
d) I learned to read at a young age.
e) I used to read the encyclopedia for fun.
Answer: B) Dad is a linguist.
Hands down. If it weren't for our dinner table conversations about etymologies and other weird word nerdy stuff, I wouldn't care about language like I do. It helped that I had great English teachers in high school and college.
I was a Word Nerd way before that History of the English Language Course in college, which should have been the coolest thing ever but was a nightmare because of the teacher. (Note to the BYU English department of 1993: don't have non-linguists teaching language courses. Save the literature professors for literature courses.)
6) While living in Finland and attending public school there, what language class did I attend?
Answer: C) English
This may sound counter-intuitive, but attending English class helped me learn Finnish. Think about it: if I had to take the same quiz as the Finnish kids did, translating words from Finnish to English or vice versa, I had to know what the words were in Finnish to pass. If I didn't know that "talo" meant "house," I was up a creek. By taking the English class, I learned Finnish much quicker.
7) What is my favorite language "toy"?
a) Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, by David Wilton
b) Word Nerd: More than 17,000 Fascinating Facts about Words, by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D
c) The Oxford English Dictionary
d) The Write Express Rhyming Dictionary
Answer: C) The Oxford English Dictionary
If you've been here very long, this was an easy one. I could have been more specific and said my OED on CD. It's a joy to behold and "play" with. Um, I mean do research with.
As a side note, my father was the linguist behind the coding for the Write Express Online Rhyming Dictionary. You can search not just for rhymes but for ANY phonetic sounds in words. It's a great tool for language teachers of any kind. It's way cool. My little sister and I spent a summer being beta-testers on it. That's a blog post of its own I should do some time.
8) What language did I study in high school for 2 years?
Answer: C) Russian
Oops. Already gave this one away answering #1. I have no clue why I didn't stick with French after junior high and what on Earth possessed me to take up Russian, but I did and had fun with it for two years. I still get a kick out of sounding out the Cyrillic alphabet.
9) Who was my favorite professor at BYU?
a) Dr. Snyder
b) Dr. Oaks
c) Dr. Thayer
d) Dr. Crisler
Answer: B) Dr. Oaks
In all honesty, I loved all of these teachers. They were each great in their own way.
(I have a hysterical story about Snyder. Oh, and another about Thayer. And I'll say that, crimeny, Crisler scared the heck out of me. He pushed me to the limit and challenged me to go farther and deeper than I thought I could. But I thank him for that! He was tough. In a good way.)
That said, Dr. Oaks impacted me and my Word Nerdiness in huge ways, and if I could sit in on his classes again, I would in a heartbeat. His cannibal jokes alone would be worth it.
10) What high school teacher do I credit for my understanding of punctuation?
a) Miss Drummond
b) Miss Jarmon
c) Mrs. Oldroyd
d) Miss Winn
Answer: A) Miss Drummond
Again, I really did have all these teachers, and they were all good, but Miss Drummond was in a league all her own. She's living proof that you can teach punctuation and grammar and have it make sense and stick with a student for life.
She's also the person I credit with first teaching me the basics of writing. I purposely didn't take the AP English class, instead taking her College Prep English class because I thought she'd prepare me for test better than the actual AP teacher could. I challenged the test and got a 5 (the highest possible score). I give her the credit. She was amazing.
Miss Drummond is in the unique position as the only person who had intense educational contact with my family as both a student and a teacher:
- She took a class from my dad on transformational grammar. Don't ask what that is. I don't even know.
- She had my brother as a student. (He swears she was the first and only teacher he ever had who could explain grammar so it made sense--see? It's not just me!)
- She had my older sister as a student.
- Then she had me as a student. Twice. (Sophomore and senior years.)
- And I was her TA one year too (junior year).
To say she had an impact on my family would be a mild statement.
So there ya go: my history as a Word Nerd.
Now for what you really want to hear . . . the winners:
The person with the most correct answers (a whopping 9 of 10!) was Amber Lynae!
You might not believe this, but the random drawing winner, using Random.org picked Amber Lynae again.
Seriously. BUT . . . I didn't think that was fair, since the point was to have two winners getting two books. (Sorry, Amber Lynae!)
So I made the executive decision of having Random.org picking another winner, and that person is Jami!
Both winners: Please contact me directly via e-mail in the next two days so I can find out which book you want and so I can get your shipping information. (Remember, it can even be one that's out of print, so you've got 7 to pick from.)
In the meantime, for all my readers, try this mind bender on for size:
(Please, if you've heard it before and know it, don't ruin the fun for everyone else in the comments. Thanks in advance!)
Do you know what the following sentence means?
Maresy dotes'n doesy dotes'n littel amsy divie.
Say it aloud if it helps to figure it out.
Next time, we'll discuss what it means and how (and why) it messes with your brain.