Thursday, September 6, 2012

So, Jon, how's the dissertation coming along?

I fired off the first chapter for initial review very recently, thank you.

What a slog! I actually started in the early part of 2012 and had just a terrible time entering into the topic. I'm not exactly sure why the writing was so difficult early on, but I suppose it had something to do with my ambition outstripping my ability: I had so many things to write about and comment upon (and research) that I lost sense of how to build a coherent argument out of everything.

Quick stats:
  • 44 total pages. That will grow by 10-20 percent after comments come back.
  • About 11,500 words.
  • 22 footnotes.
  • 47 works cited entries.
  • Six figures: two images, one reproduction of a diagram, and three original figures.
  • Top words:
    • Text - 86 times.
    • HMMs - 72 times.
    • Markov - 67 times.
    • Textual - 56 times.
    • Probability - 32 times.
  • Favorite words:
    • Allophones.
    • Consilience. 
    • Deformity.
    • Dimensions.
  •  Favorite 3-word phrases:
    • Law of large.
    • Literary and textual.
    • Andrei Andreevich Markov.
I finally started to make progress when I focused on the section I absolutely knew had to be in the chapter: the explanation of hidden Markov models. Once I set that section down, I began to see the shape of other sections. Then, I couldn't stop writing.

Lesson learned. For chapter 2, I'll not be fancy. I'll just get to writing.

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