I received my B.A. in Individualized Study from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. What is a B.A. in Individualized Study, you ask? Essentially, it's a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Bachelor's Degree, culminating in an oral exam (the "Colloquium") administered by a committee of three faculty members and based on a list of 25 books of the student's choosing. The book list and a proposal for the topic of the discussion (the "Rationale") must be approved in advance by the committee. My Colloquium addressed the broad question of language as a defining characteristic of the concept of "human" (versus "animal") through various disciplinary lenses, including the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, ethics/metaethics, and literature. (Yes, I studied a lot of philosophy at NYU; it's hard not to get sucked into the vortex of highly stimulating thought that is the best philosophy department in the country.) The faculty on my Colloquium Committee were Laura Slatkin (Classics and Gallatin advisor), Sharon Street (Philosophy), and John Costello (Linguistics).
At some point during my time at NYU, I became preoccupied with ancient Greek philosophy, which led me to the CUNY Greek Institute, a 10-week intensive summer program for learning to read Classical Greek. Among my other accomplishments at the Institute, I was the first person in 30 years to beat Hardy Hansen in a round of the Hoplite Challenge, the Institute's annual Greek verb conjugation contest. I returned to CUNY the following summer to participate in the Latin Institute, but discovered that I much prefer to read and think about Greek.
After graduating from NYU, I spent a year in the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Classical Studies at Penn.
The first four years of my graduate studies in linguistics at Penn were funded by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.
- English: native
- Russian: basic speaking and reading fluency
- German: reading knowledge
- Classical and New Testament Greek: high proficiency
- Medieval Greek: basic proficiency
- Modern Greek: reading knowledge
- Hungarian: research
- I know more than I ever wanted to know about encodings of polytonic Greek, including Betacode and both combining and precombined Unicode. A very useful Python program for converting from Betacode to precombined Unicode can be found here, courtesy of James Tauber. In my own use of this program, I have fixed some mistakes and added characters; eventually I will post a revised version here.
- I am highly proficient in the LaTeX/XeTeX family of typesetting languages. Some of the packages that I find useful for my work are: qtree (for drawing syntactic trees), gb4e (for generating glossed examples), and stmaryrd (for semantic symbols).
- I took a couple of semesters of Java programming at NYU but have since abandoned that language in favor of Python. In particular, I use Python to do a lot of pre-processing of XML files from the Perseus Digital Library and pre- and post-processing of syntactically annotated (parsed) files from the Penn Parsed Corpora of Historical Greek (PPCHiG). Some packages I have used for XML processing in Python are etree, minidom, and (my overwhelming favorite, although it has a few drawbacks) Beautiful Soup. I plan to release a Python class in the near future that will provide a data structure for sentence tokens in the PPCHiG, making it easier for corpus users to implement search and correction tasks that are not currently possible using CorpusSearch.
- I use R to do statistical analyses and data visualization, but my R skills are in need of improvement (to say the least). I owe much thanks to my colleague Joe Fruehwald for his patient help and his very useful R Study Group notes.
Some Random Things I Like