Tuesday, 25 February 2014

I'm getting quite excited about it

When I first did the keyword analysis, I was disappointed that all the words that came up were things like 'the' and 'and'. But now I see how important that is. Its not what he's saying but how he's saying it that's so important. And as far as I know no-one has ever analysed Cohen like this before. This really feels like research now.

But I'm still not happy about my writing up. I know S will be (politely) scathing again. I always thought I wrote well - at work in the old days everybody said I did. So is this so different? Or am I 'lostitat62'?

I've ordered two sleeveless tops for the summer. One blue, one pink. Lets hope we get good weather. But I can wear them under jackets and cardigans.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


My latest task is to carry out some computer analysis of the songs. I have already done quite a lot of work on this but I printed it out and read it and it was so disorganised I was ashamed. So I've gone right back to the spreadsheet and reworked it. I have 38 key words. These are words which Cohen uses more than the popular songs I am comparing him with. Its a statistical measure. Then I've checked whether these words are significant across the whole corpus or just in a small period. For instance, 'lover' is key but its all because there is one song 'lover, lover, lover ........', so it doesn't tell you much. And then I've drawn graphs. In colour. Then I can set criteria for how I choose which words to look at in more detail. I know it will all come down to 'the' and 'and' again.

Its getting warmer and I can't wear my winter jumpers any more. I had some good ones this year, which I really enjoyed wearing. So  is there anything in the wardrobe I've forgotten about? Or do I need new?

Saturday, 15 February 2014


In our Skype session, S told me (again) that my material is fine and the way I package it isn't. I need to include more details of my arguments. Its not that I don't have the evidence or the understanding. I just don't spell it out in the right way. I don't include enough examples (I'm always worried about the word count). I should have got this right after nine years of university courses in the humanities.

But I think he liked my overall argument that the fascination of Cohen is the way he uses language typical of conversation alongside language typical of narrative fiction alongside language typical of academic writing. And he draws the reader/listener in by being intimate and challenging at the same time.

It occurred to me that no-one as far as I know has ever done this kind of analysis on Cohen before. So its all original. And that feels good.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Its all rubbish

Yesterday it all read well. But now that I've put the manual analysis in a document for S to read in advance of our Skype, it all reads like rubbish. Are the arguments rigorous enough? Have I drawn suitable conclusions? I am usually accused of being 'a scientist', stating just  the facts. But the facts are all there is. And when I try to deduce something from them, its not usually the 'right' thing. But my judgement is as good as anyone else's.

I've also included my outline arguments for the computer analysis.

Its a compliment to be called a scientist. A linguist is a kind of scientist.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Nothing like a bit of pressure

I have an appointment to Skype S next week and I said I'd send him some sample dissertation by the end of tomorrow. So I looked at what I've written and I didn't think it good enough. So I've spent the afternoon restructuring, signposting the findings and making sure that the arguments are supported.

In summary, Cohen does not stick to any one linguistic style, even in one lyric. He is intimate, like conversation, organised like writing, memorable like poetry and complex like literature. I know you might think 'well I always knew that' but now I have the evidence - at least, I do for my three sample lyrics.

I would have just tinkered with it (again) if I hadn't had the appointment.

Slow roast pork for dinner, so I keep setting the timer for an hour and going to the kitchen to top up the water so that it doesn't dry out. I rubbed it with cloves and cinnamon and the smell is awesome.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Old and young

We've been to visit TSH's 94 year old mother who is independent and alert and brilliant. That was immediately after visiting TSH's daughter and husband and the new grandson who is brilliant and becoming alert but not independent for a while yet.  So I've had another few days off.

But today I've looked at how Cohen is using 'there'. He mostly (66%ish of the time) uses it existentially - 'there are laws to obey' rather than 'standing there', indicating place. This shows that he writes with great authority - like an academic or an expert witness.

I've been amusing myself on youtube with extracts from Cohen concerts I have been to . When he sings 'Save the Last Dance for me' and 'Marianne', two big finishes with audience participation, he looks exhausted. But he gives an outstanding performance and he's nearly 80!

TSH has been ill with a stomach bug but hopefully OK now. I think I'm immune.