Hello there, reader, and a special welcome to my first blog post (ever!).
I’m Gina (hi!), a Boston College English major newly interested in linguistics and the way our smart little brains interpret the words we read phonologically, semantically, and, most importantly to this blog here, contextually.
I’m here to write about my upcoming semester in Stockholm, Sweden, including the potholes I hit along the way, my experience throwing myself into a new culture (one presumably vastly different from that of my tiny Midwestern hometown), my anxiety surrounding travel, and all the countless other scary and wonderful aspects of living in a foreign place.
But I want to challenge myself a bit: as I said briefly, I have a foot-in-the-door, blossoming love for linguistics, particularly the subfield called pragmatics, which is all about how context influences interpretation – speaker’s intention, the lexicon of the listener, implicatures and gestures, assumed things left unsaid, mindset of the listener, etc., etc., all fun and interesting things.
For the semester, my plan is to observe how context influences meaning: I'll listen in on coffee shop conversations, pay close attention to road signs, read brochures, novels, children's books – absorb all I can of the language, and, as often as I feel appropriate, pick one Swedish word that strikes me, and write about how I interpret the word based on physical and mental context. Throughout the semester I'll revisit my posts and briefly comment on what each word means to me in a new context, no longer freshly-adapted to Stockholm life.
Here‘s my English-language, pre-departure example of what I plan to do every day or so while in Stockholm, because I’m sure my explanation lacks, somewhat, and showing can be better than telling: away, adv.