Author Archives: Brian Bird

Going to India


I have been blessed with an awesome opportunity to teach computer programming in India this fall and to bring my family with me! All three of us are very excited. It is especially cool that our daughter, age 8, will be getting an international and cross-cultural education, even though she’ll miss the first two months of third-grade. My wife will be home-schooling her while they have fun exploring Indian life and culture.

We’re going to the City of Chennai (formerly Madras). I will be doing what I love–teaching software development–eight hours a day, five days a week to newly hired employees of a major financial firm. I’m looking forward to getting to know my students and learning about life and culture in India through them.

We’ve been preparing by reading books and watching videos about India, including some video clips of Bollywood dancing, which my daughter thought looked really fun.


She and my wife want to take an Indian dance class together.

I’ve always been intrigued by other cultures and languages. My wife and I met at an Iranian church where the services were conducted in Farsi. We both love traveling and meeting people from other countries. Before our daughter was born, we lived in Central Asia for a couple of years and had the opportunity to travel around the region. Our lives have been enriched by all we’ve experienced and learned from the people we’ve met.

This world is a big, beautiful place. But, unfortunately, it isn’t all beautiful. There are huge blots and smudges on what would otherwise be a masterpiece. There is war, poverty, oppression, hatred, and evil. My family and I are followers of Jesus. He has called us to stand against the evil. We do this wherever we are. Unfortunately, evil is everywhere. It’s here in America (just watch today’s news), and it’s in all the places where we have traveled and will travel.

Our lives have been so enriched by the love, wisdom, and insight we have received from our international friends. But we want to give as well as receive. One way we can do this is by practicing and passing on what we’ve learned about pushing back evil. One of Jesus’ most famous teachings on this is recorded in Matthew 5:3-10. Maybe we won’t put an end to evil by living like this, but imagine what the world would be like if we all had the attitudes expressed here:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

-New International Version of the Bible

Introductory iOS App Development course

More to life than the physical

I just launched a new blog, Unseen Realms. I’d be very pleased to have you read the first post and leave a comment. This is a topic I’d love to dialogue about!

Xamarin Android course

Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished! « The Yaghnobi

In December of last year I submitted my MA thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar to the graduate school of the University of Oregon and it has been accepted. You can read or download it here: Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished!

Draft of Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar « The Yaghnobi

I’ve posted a draft of my MA thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar, on the Yaghnobi blog. I welcome any comments or suggestions. I will be submitting a final draft to the University of Oregon graduate school in a week and a half.

Draft of Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar « The Yaghnobi

Formatting LSA Style Linguistic Data Citations in Microsoft Word

Academic papers in the field of linguistics are often written folowing LSA style, which is the style used in Language, the journal of the Language Society of America. One of the aspects of style that is fairly unique to linguistics writing is the way linguistic data is presented. The following quatation is from the Language style sheet:

a. Type each numbered item on a separate indented line with the number in parentheses; indent after the number; use lowercase letters to group sets of related items:

(2)  a.  Down the hill rolled the baby carriage.
      b.  Out of the house strolled my mother’s best friend.

b. In the text, refer to numbered items as 2, 2a, 2a,b, 2(a- c).

The Problem

One of the problems I run into when writing long papers, is keeping the numbered examples synchronized with my references to them in the text of the paper. If I add an example, remove an example, or change their order, then I have to go through the whole paper and update the references.

Continue reading

Language Documentation & Conservation – Online Journal « Living Languages

A new free, peer-reviewed linguistics journal was announced in this post on Living Languages:

The e-journal Language Documentation & Conservation (LD&C) was launched last month by the University of Hawai‘i Press to journal endangered language issues.

Tajik Persian Complex Predicates

Persian complex predicates are of particular interest because their semantics are often idiosyncratic and their structure frequently deviates from general rules of Persian syntax. In spite of these peculiarities, Persian complex predicates are not a marginal part of the language. They form an open, productive class, and are more common than simple verbs.  Continue reading

New Book: What Counts as Evidence in Linguistics?

I just read an announcement for a new book: What Counts as Evidence in Linguistics Edited by Martina Penke and Anette Rosenbach, and published this year by John Benjamins.  According to the description of the book on the LingusitList, this book focuses on the innateness debate and shows how formal and functional approaches to linguistics have different perspectives on linguistic evidence. The three guiding questions for this volume are: What type of evidence can be used for innateness claims (or UG)?; What is the content of such innate features (or UG)?; and, How can UG be used as a theory guiding empirical research?

This book will be on my list of books to read after I finish my MA Thesis.

Continue reading