I have been a busy bee lately, my friends. It's been the busiest six weeks or so of the 9+ months that I've had this job. My revised article was due last month, and I've been analyzing data for a conference presentation this weekend, and I'm trying to get my dissertation manuscript submitted by June 24. Next week I'm guest-lecturing for the associate head of the department in town where I hope to get a job someday, so I'd love to knock it out of the park.
I'm not complaining -- it's all stuff I've chosen to do, projects I'm excited about. Still, I'll be glad when the 24th rolls around and life quiets down again. I have a half-dozen partially written posts kicking around in my head, and I know that sometimes the best way to get blogging again is to toss off a hasty post.
This is a picture that's been puzzling me: it shows kids' use of perfect aspect (log-transformed density values on the x axis, proportion of the sample on the y axis). What it's saying is that kids either like perfect or they hate it -- either they sprinkle their language samples with "I'd been wondering" and "she's been grumpy lately" or else they never use those structures at all. I've been trying to figure out why. Perfect aspect is more common in books than in spoken language, so I've been poking around in the database to get a fix on family reading culture -- nothing there. I've been looking at parental education, which is weakly predictive but not significantly so. And I've been looking separately at the kids with language troubles, thinking they might prefer simpler forms. Even there, the distribution is bimodal: they use fewer perfect forms, but some of them have a few and some have zero. I'm scratching my head, but it's a fun kind of puzzle. Any ideas?