Let’s talk about language. I’ve always been fascinated by languages. When I was a young teenager, I made a list of all the languages I wanted to know. I didn’t just want to learn; I wanted to become a fluent speaker of those languages! A little too ambitious, perhaps, but I hoped to one day be fluent in four or five other languages besides English, including American Sign Language (ASL), French, and Dutch. I suppose it was only natural with a father from the Netherlands and both parents and a set of grandparents working in linguistics. I ended up taking 2½ years of French and ½ a year of Spanish in high school. At my church, my mother and I studied some ASL with a missionary to the Deaf, and when I went on to college, I continued by taking five classes (about 3 semesters worth) of ASL.

Though I no longer really hope to become fluent in all the languages in which I’m interested, I have recently added Na’vi to the list of languages I want to know. I can’t help it! I want to know more!

Grammar & Syntax

I can be, at times, what you might call a Grammar (and punctuation) Nazi. In my book, grammar and punctuation are so closely related they are basically the same subject. I don’t know all the rules, but I tend to be strict about those I know, and I’m always looking to learn more about grammar rules and what is correct. Yes, when spending hours and hours IMing, back in the day, I drove friends nuts by correcting their errors, and they drove me nuts by ignoring my corrections. Some of my pet peeves:

  • The commas. I could never comprehend why people have so much trouble learning to use a comma. The biggest mistakes that irk me are below:
    – I like to sing and, play guitar.
    – My hair is soft, long and blonde. (The fact that this comma usage is becoming more widely accepted does not stop it from irritating me!)
  • The wrong-word-usage. For example:
    – Its vs. It’s
    – Their vs. There
    – Here vs. Hear
    – Know vs. Now (Yes, people actually make that mistake.)
    – Who vs. Whom (If you don’t know which word to use, re-word your sentence.)
  • Prepositional Phrases.
    – Having multiple prepositional phrases in the same sentence while neglecting to pay attention to the word order.
    – Ending sentences with prepositions! It bothers me when I do it, too. 🙂

What is it about languages that intrigues me so much?


Maybe I’m interested simply because I’m able to understand languages. My mind grasps the concepts, the rules, and the similarities between one language and another, and it wants to know more! I don’t plan to be a linguist, but my desire to learn more about languages is hard to ignore. I do plan to take as many language courses and learn as much as I can in the future!

What about you? Do you have an affinity for languages as well? Are you already fluent in multiple languages? Do you have any tips for learning new languages? I’d love for you to share!

And don’t worry – if you don’t like languages, that won’t make me think any less of you. 😛

Note: This blog was inspired partially by Your Friend, The Comma, which I read almost two months ago.

Five for Friday III

Previous Fridays

Five reasons I love my husband this Friday!

1. I love how you got rid of the empty boxes in the guest room for me.

2. I love that you offered to help me with some of the things on my to-do list.

3. I love when you compliment my cooking.

4. I love your photography.

5. I love it when you rub my back.


Scarby 2010

In my post about How to Enjoy a Renfest, I mentioned our local renfest called Scarborough Faire. My husband has been there over half a dozen times, and I’ve been once each of the last two years. It’s a lot of fun! We visited on Sunday and vlogged throughout the day. Below you will find part one as well as as links to more of our vlogs!

Part One

More Vlogs

Part Two – Scarby

April 27 – Tuesday Wings and Poor Service

YouTube Channel and Recent Videos

Soon I should be getting a link added to the navigation bar that will take you directly to my YouTube channel! As I mentioned before, my husband and I have started making vlogs together. For the time being, I’m simply going to post a link to each video here – until I can think of a better solution!

The Beginning

End of March


Positive Reinforcement

I’m working on my ability to use positive reinforcement in my life, but I’m finding it very difficult. This seems to be something that does not come naturally to some people – or maybe all people (or just Americans) – but it is a very useful tool. I think that many relationships in my life and in yours could benefit from using positive reinforcement more often.


One easy way to define positive reinforcement is by contrasting it with its opposite, which is, of course, negative reinforcement.

  • Negative reinforcement tries to alter behavior by removing a negative stimulus. Wikipedia’s examples include a child being granted the request for his parents to turn off an annoying song and a mouse avoiding a shock by pressing the correct button.
  • Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, involves giving a reward or positive stimulus in order to alter behavior. For example, you give your dog a treat when he correctly performs a trick he is learning, and you reward your child with desert for sharing (or something).
  • Punishment attempts to alter behavior by presenting some sort of unpleasant stimulus when a wrong behavior is exhibited. For instance, shocking a dog when he barks or putting a misbehaving child in time-out (or giving said child a spanking). Some people group this as a type of negative reinforcement, but it is actually more similar to positive reinforcement since it involves adding a stimulus to an environment, rather than taking one away.


We seem to use positive reinforcement naturally and easily when dealing with animals. We speak in happy, high-pitched voices to praise them, and it’s really easy because the animal usually doesn’t care what words are actually coming out of our mouths. We give them treats, which is also easy because we buy them at the store, and one tastes as good as another as far as our animals are concerned.

But we don’t always find it as easy to use positive reinforcement in relationships with our peers. In fact, even in parent-child relationships, it is often easier to use punishment and negative reinforcement. Perhaps part of the reason is the complexity of human beings: Children have different tastes and appreciate different types of rewards. The tastes vary not only from person to person; they can even change from one year to the next, or within an even shorter span of time. Children, and people in general, also tend to get bored. They don’t want to be rewarded for their behavior the same way every time.

We can throw our dogs a treat from the same box every time they do well, but humans need variety, or the reward will lose meaning.


Because of my upbringing, I think it’s especially easy for me to use negative reinforcement by default. I usually feel that there is no need to comment on something unless it’s wrong or bothering me. If I could learn to use positive reinforcement instead, I think my relationships would benefit quite a bit.

Only I know how pleased I am with something unless I say so. If I say nothing, no one knows. If they only hear the negative, they see me as a negative person in turn, and sometimes will come away feeling unappreciated or brought down by my complaints. Maybe you have found yourself in situations like that as well.

The other option is to refrain from voicing the majority of negative thoughts and instead focus on the positive. Initially, this will not change your thoughts. You’re still having the same number of negative thoughts and the same number of positive thoughts, but you’re voicing and acting on the positive rather than the negative. At first, struggling through the awkward sensations of change, only others will notice a difference, I think. Over time, though, I can’t imagine but that this would begin to change you inside, too. I think you would eventually grow to appreciate the positive more, notice it more, and find more things to praise or reward.

Of course, some of that is only speculation, because I’m still working on this ability.

What about you? Do you find it easy or hard to use positive reinforcement? I’d love to hear from you. I’d especially love to hear if you’ve been able to teach yourself to use positive reinforcement and how you did so. Are there any other benefits you see to using one type of behavior reinforcement over another?

Five for Friday II

Previous Fridays

For the second week in a row, I give you my Friday’s Five (things I love about my husband)!

1. I love how hard you’re working to reach your goals in the Army.

2. I love how you try to talk to me in your sleep.

3. I love your strong arms.

4. I love how you helped us start our little garden (sure made it easy on me)!

5. I love when you help me cook meals.