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Relevant for the English Wiktionary
Registered Wiktionary user since June 15, 2006.
Comments, help etc. welcome via my talk page. Thanks!
Why I care about the Wiktionary project
Words are the most frequently used means for us human beings to communicate. A common, shared understanding of what the words mean is necessary for communication to succeed. In my experience, misunderstanding and miscommunication are all to often caused when different people interpret words differently from each other. Such misunderstandings can lead to my making a mistake, to your getting into a quite unnecessary quarrel with your nearest and dearest and to other preventable accidents. When we are really unlucky, misunderstandings and miscommunications can even cause a crisis, which may escalate into a full-blown disaster. Contrastingly, when we are lucky (or proficient, or both), we create friendship, cooperation, goodwill, knowledge and prosperous communities through our successful use of words. For these reasons I want to do my small part in making it easier for us all to communicate in one of the most complex and complicated of languages: English. If you are interested in why English is so convoluted, keep on reading.
Why English is so convoluted
The English language is a concoction brewed from at least five "ingredient" languages: Insular Celtic (the Goidelic and Brythonic language families), Latin, Anglo-Saxon, old Norse, and Norman French. These five had first been simmering together on the British Isles for several hundreds of years, creating a very rich vocabulary and a grammar with more exceptions than rules. Then English expanded West, and adopted a number of words and expressions from different Native American languages and other languages, such as Spanish, Dutch, French (again), Italian, and a number of languages spoken by the slaves from Africa.
If you grow curious about the history of the English language, I recommend Wikijunior Languages/English offered on Wikibooks for a quick starter, and after that, if you have apetite for more, the articles History of the English language and Old English language offered on Wikipedia. If you want to read a book that resembles a good novel, yet informs better than many textbooks, check out The Adventure of English : The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg.
Words I care about
I watch these words. The ones I have edited are in bold.
Words that concern Earth, this only home we have, and how we may be able to survive our own cleverness
- communicate community cooperation global interdependence local regional
- fair integrity responsible tolerance
- creativity diverse innovative idea serendipity variety
- complexity consequence equilibrium feedback system
- democracy freedom lawful union
Words related to the international scientific-scholarly community
- learn research scholar scientific teach understand
- concept context meaning relevance validity
- data information knowledge wisdom
- analysis conscientious methodology persistence sample systematic
- empathy interpret intuition
- critique falsification proof questioning review skeptical verification
Words from the field of emergency management
- safety security proficient reliable robust
- accident catastrophe crisis danger disaster emergency jeopardy risk
- alert announcement guidance message warning
- mitigate prevent respond
The following information is very much alike what I have on my Wikipedia user page, too. You may have seen most of it already.
Me, myself and I
Rather informal Curriculum Vitae
I am currently a free academic radical. This means, among other things, that I am a university student and that I teach and do research, too, but I do not hold a permanent faculty position. I like reading, writing, thinking, learning, and teaching, all preferably together with others. When practiced in combination, these activities often tend to lead to research, which has sometimes even been publishable. My main research interest is multi-channel early warning (MCEW) - this is called "emergency population warning" "public warning", "citizens warning" or "emergency alert", too. Both alone and together with fellow students and faculty, I have thus far (July 2007) published one magazine article, five conference papers and one workshop position paper, which focus mainly on the security and usability of MCEWs received through mobile devices (mobile early warning, MEW). Granted, MCEWs or MEWs are not a very widely-adopted reality yet, but studying the concepts and theory is interesting and motivating: maybe one day our work will help save lives.
From the teaching experiences mentioned above grows my motto: "It takes a research community to train a researcher". I see myself less and less as a teacher (a giver of information to those who know less) and increasingly as a facilitator and a coach (an intellectual "ball plank" for those who certainly know more than I do about their own research topics, and about many other things, too). In my honest opinion, the best learning for fledgling researchers - whether they are high school or doctoral students - comes from Socratic group discussions with and personal tutoring by older and more experienced researchers. I predict that the university, faculty or laboratory that has or can develop traditions that build and maintain such interdependent, inter-generation research communities is among the ones to produce the most innovative (partial) solutions to many of humankind's most pressing problems.
In blunter words: Teachers don't necessarily need to leave 'em kids alone - but we do need to learn to speak less and listen more in class, to loosen the total control that we have when we lecture. Especially when dealing with people who need to learn how to do research at least moderately independently, the designated "teacher" should preferably round up sufficiently many older researchers of the same general research area, with varying length and focus of experience, lure them in the same room with the beginners, bolt the door, pour the coffee/tea/goatmilk/whatever, get the discussion going and then SHUT UP her- or himself. People who are smart enough to be drawn to research are, indeed, capable of posing intelligent and relevant questions to their senior colleagues, and they, in turn, are capable of answering the questions full well, without any unnecessary meddling from the teacher.
Oh, and while I am at it: those who wish to study at college or university level should first be able to show that they can read, write and think, not just repeat memorized facts or take standardized tests. Furthermore, those who wish to teach at college or university level should first be able to prove that they can, in addition to the three skills above, also teach.
I was born in May 1964 in Helsinki (Finland, EU) as the eldest of three sisters, and originally named Päivi Hyvärinen. I lived from October 1967 to December 1969 in Baltimore, (Maryland, USA), where both my parents did postdoctoral research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During our time in Baltimore I forgot everything about Finland except the language and came to view myself as an American. Not surprisingly, returning "home" was not easy. Today I have a Western - mainly cross-Atlantic - identity, with some roots here, some there, and most of my strongest roots in the international scientific-scholarly community.
In Baltimore I attended Cedarcroft Kindergarten (Montessori method), the best school I have ever had the honor to study at - though Helsingfors svenska sjukvårdsinstitut in 1983-1988 came close.
I changed my name in 1993 to Ronja Addams. This name comes firstly from the protagonist of Astrid Lindgren's book Ronja Rövardotter (translated into English as Ronia the Robber's Daughter), and secondly from the Addams Family cartoons and films (I love them, especially the 1991 movie). In 1997, when we married, I took also my husband's family name in use.
I am a Bright, and so is my husband. We have brought our children up in the spirit of intellectual and emotional honesty, creative curiosity, constructive argumentation, and religious tolerance, which they are now testing to the hilt by both proclaiming that they believe in God and angels. I find the irony of it delicious.
We currently live in Helsinki (Finland, EU). The time zone of Helsinki East-European Time (EET), the same as for Tallin, Cairo and Cape Town (UTC + 2 hours).
For more information
Please see my web page for more details, such as my full publication list and a picture of me.
--Ronja 18:46, 29 November 2006 (UTC)