12 of 12 for July 2010

18 Jul

As some of you already know, my camera was stolen in Toronto on the 12th of last month, right after I had taken the bulk of my photos for the day. As I will likely never recover those pictures, you’ll have to use your imagination – most of them were from the largest outdoor dog festival in North America.

Anyway, on to July:

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Since the last 12th, I’ve returned home to New Hampshire, but not to the same house. My parents bought this new house on the Meredith-Laconia town line. It sits on 3 acres in front of an additional landlocked 2.5 acre lot owned by the town (essentially our extended backyard). While it is smaller than our old house and doesn’t have a view, it does have a finished basement and air conditioning, which has proved useful during this exceptionally warm summer.

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I decided to take a little tour of our new neighbourhood. This cemetery lies at the end of our street. Most of the gravestones date from the 1700s and 1800s, although many have fallen apart or become illegible over the centuries.

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Someone has taken care to replace some of the damaged headstones with these newer ones (although I have no idea when they date from). Many of the restored stones are for Revolutionary War soldiers. This fellow served under General John Stark, the New Hampshire general who coined the state motto, “Live free or die.”

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Here’s the entrance to our driveway. The stone wall runs down the length of our road.

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Just down the road is this colonial farmhouse. I liked the combination of colours in this shot.

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I spotted this grasshopper on the road. He’s got some chic digs.
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At lunchtime, I got caught up on the Daily Show and enjoyed the best (New England) juice brand. That’s my new computer; my previous laptop from 2006 was virtually holding together by a string.

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While cleaning out some trimmings of a blue spruce tree in our backyard, this lily peeking through the branches caught my eye. Really nice colour contrast.

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My thesis inches nearer to completion. This graph summarizes my observed changes in the New Hampshire dialect across the 20 speakers I interviewed, arranged from oldest (on the left) to youngest (on the right). There are five variables, each represented by a different “code word”:

1. BATH: refers to words like half, laugh, last — conservative speakers have a central “ah” sound in these words, reminiscent of British or Australian English, whereas younger speakers usually have the same vowel as in words like trap.

2. PALM: refers to words like father, calm, aunt — the conservative variant is also a central “ah” sound here, but this is distinct from the more retracted vowel in words like bother. For the younger speakers, father and bother usually rhyme.

3. START: refers to a whole bunch of words with the <ar> spelling, like car, park, far, and so on. This variable has the same two vowel variants as PALM (an “ah” sound versus the backer short “o”).

4. /r/: refers to r-dropping, that is, the vocalization of /r/ after vowels, as in the classic “pahk the cah in Hahvid yahd” or “New Hampsha.” Some of the oldest speakers drop their /r/s 100% of the time, whereas some of the youngest speakers always pronounce their /r/s.

5. NORTH: refers to words like for, morning, horse. A few of the older speakers (who usually drop their /r/s) have a lower short “o” vowel sound in these words, so that morning sounds like “monning” and horse sounds like “hoss.” This conservative variant is distinct from the higher vowel sound in words like four, mourning, and hoarse. Most speakers under 50, however, make no distinction between pairs like horse and hoarse.

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Making supper. Angel enjoying the smell of food.

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A hearty meal.

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Before bed, I watched an episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad. I’m almost caught up with the show – just two episodes left. It is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a great drama. The story revolves around a middle-aged high school science teacher who finds out that he has lung cancer and turns to making methamphetamine to provide for his family. Lots of great twists and turns along the way.

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One Response to “12 of 12 for July 2010”

  1. Megan 22 July 2010 at 22:20 #

    Greg – so good to get an update from you! I must confess that since adding you onto my Google Reader I’ve been very bad about leaving comments, but I have indeed still been reading!

    Hope to see you in Europe soon enough! 😀

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