September 23rd, 2002

Owl Side

"To David Lightfoot...

...the man I want to grow up to be." I swear this will be the inscription of the dedication in the first good publishable thing I have that has dedications attached to it. David is, quite simply, the reason I'm in Linguistics, instead of floundering about in Computer Science somewhere. He's magnetic, invigorating. I traveled two hours to Georgetown (walk to car, metro, bus to Georgetown, walk to building) to see this man for a little over an hour and talk to him about the instantiation of one of his theories in a computational model. I enjoyed every moment of it. He has an English accent, a dry, witty, humor (Quote from first syntax class: "So..which one of you has a perverse mind? Come on - I know you do!", in reference to viewing a proposition from the opposite standpoint), a honed squinty-eyed thoughtful look, and an irrepressible smile. He's published books Up The Wazoo (TM), has had his own lecture series hither and yon, and still is able to find delight in a statue that has a chessboard with pieces in impossible positions. He is great. And in the course of the hour, I managed to re-pick up a good portion of his accent. It's terrible, except that I love that accent so. Hurrah for Engish accents. Hurrah for David Lightfoot.

I shall now gleefully, at his suggestions, go over choice bits of my honors thesis and re-examine them from a different standpoint, possibly revamp the code, and re-write portions of the paper in time to submit to a conference. Gleefully, I tell you.