but the best has been saved for last. Language in Culture. The beast that has claimed numerous U of C students. In fact we just recently learned that William Hanks, head of the Linguistic Anthropology department at Berkeley, still has an incomplete in this course because he never turned in his final.

Here’s a sample midterm question:

3. Select a short passage of narrative or dramatic text [ca. 400-500 words; please supply a transcript or photocopy of the text-artifact along with your essay], and give an interpretative segmentation or chunking of it as interactional text, that is, as a be-degrees coherent development of social positions constituted and reconstituted by the participants. In support of your account of the interactional text, point out some of the mechanics by which the interaction gets accomplished: are there explicit primary performative utterances? Primary performative utterances? Clear denotational implicatures? Adjacency-pair structures? Invocations of other/prior event-structures and their role allocations (“interdiscursivity”)? Use of heteroglossic aspects of variation? A clear ‘voice’ [Bakhtin] structure emergent, perhaps with double- or n-tuple “polyphony” at points? How does the use of both referential and predicational deixis constitute the skeletal structure of movement of the whole informational structure of denotational text so as to constitute a kind of “interaction ritual” (Goffman) form in the passage? (Note: for drama, there is an interaction of inhabited characters that takes place within their fictive universe; the authorial message to the “audience” to this interaction is at another level. For narrative prose, there is a narrator role and the role of the narrated-to, distinct from the narrated world in which characters interact one with another. In both these cases, as Bakhtin noted, there can be powerful interactions across these ontic divides.)

Oy… I need to answer all of that in five pages. And also a similiar question as well. By Friday. And read about 250 pages of Freud.

On the plus side the people in my department took advantage of the beautiful weather and got together to play dodgeball and ultimate frisbee today. Originally we were supposed to be challenging the MAPH students (basically the sister program of ours located in the Humanities school). But those touchy feely types never showed up. So it was all MAPSS, all the time.

Now I’m at the Reg, our library, reading Freud.