Languaging and Linguistics:
The Friends and Companions
of Cold Winter Evenings
A Letter from Assistant Editor
So, as the evenings lengthen in the northern hemisphere such that night seems bent on check-mating day in a few moves, and the temperatures seem to threaten to limbo dance under the lower reaches of the Kelvin-calibrated thermometer, the lover of languages may find herself wondering what to do with these in-home, holed-up, by-the-fireside post-work evenings when only a few months ago she was able to be zooming around under the summer sun, enjoying the vibrancy of language as it manifests itself in the glow of the external world: observing interaction at August BBQs, operationalising schemata for buying tickets at a fairground, enacting exponents of one-uppersonship guilt-laden trade-off with her parents to bring an abrupt end to evening at mum and dad’s, or giving direction to strangers on the street of her familiar home town.
Well, in contrast to those whose time and attention is given to those gross, material pursuits, be it cricket or American football, rock-climbing or allotmenting, the passing of summer’s balmy warmthosity into chilly wintriness poses no problem for the lover of language, languages, languaging and linguistics. While the rain (or snow) patters on the roof, the trees retreat into their own barky shells and the commuters crawl home that bit slower through the murkier evenings, she knows that the infinite array of forms by which language can present itself to the observer means that winter signifies only a chance to reacquaint herself with that Welsh grammar book, to draw some tree diagrams of Cherokee using the machinery of role and reference, or to (re)memorise a few more lines of Beowulf—and even act them out in the living room (with the curtains neatly closed).
Ah, language! Such versatility! Summer and winter are opposite, if not opposing, maybe even oppositional seasons; but language, languages, languaging and linguistics finds their feet in both. Indeed, if you find yourself having brushed up on the Welsh, having drawn those tree diagrams, and being well over half way through Beowulf and it’s still not even the winter solstice, why not write an article for SpecGram?
Stay warm this winter, wrapped up tight in linguistics.