After a long hiatus of being quite busy with Ph.D. program research and projects, I am back. It has been an exciting year of language study. I got up to the second level of intermediate Uyghur. Unfortunately, I cannot go any further, since KU does not offer advanced-level Uyghur courses. (Perhaps a trip to Xinjiang or Kazakhstan is in order?) I have also started taking Mandarin Chinese lessons through a private tutor--my first foray into studying a tone language!
As for my student status, I am now Ph.C. (Ph.D. Candidate), more popularly known as ABD (All But Dissertation). This after completing three Field Statements, three parts of a Comprehensive written exam plus an oral exam/Dissertation Proposal Defense. Now I begin writing the dissertation, which is titled, "The Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV) As A Language Area." Essentially I am comparing the LMV language contact area ca. 500-1700 CE, researching evidence of contact among the several languages of the area, including Biloxi, Tunica, Atakapa, Chitimacha, Natchez, and Choctaw/Chickasaw. (The LMV can be compared to better known language contact areas, or Sprachbunds, such as the Balkans area of Europe, South Asia, Norteast Africa, and the Amazon.) I will also incorporate some archaeological and narrative evidence into the language contact research.
More on this as things evolve!