The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Red tents & the pin-pen merger

One of the most obvious features of Oklahoma speech is known as the 'Pin-pen merger'. It's where the short "e" (as in "pen") is prounounced like a short "i" (as in "pin") when followed by "n" or "m". Hence, "pin" and "pen" (or 'tin' and 'ten') sound similar or identical. This occurs everywhere from Kansas to Texas and eastward to the Carolinas and Georgia. I heard many ("miny") examples while spending ("spinding") this past weekend at Lake Texoma.

One of the best moments was when my girlfriend (a native Oklahoman) was talking about the "tints" (tents) by the lake. I asked her to say "red tent", using the same vowel sound in "tent" as in "red". Even after a few tries, it still sounded like "red tint". I realized that it's quite difficult for people from here to say words like "tent", "pen", etc. with the same "e" sound as in "red". I think that's so cool!! (by the way, I had plenty of trouble making other vowel sounds that were quite easy for her)

There's really no right or wrong way to say these words. I often wonder if Oklahomans think I say them funny/wrong. There is a defined "Standard American English", but it's generally not spoken by people from either Oklahoma or California.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Isn't she adorable?!?!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Past lives

Last weekend I visited my friend's class at the Dallas Hypnosis Training Institute. They learned about (and practiced) past-life regressions. If you're not familiar with that, it's where people (via hypnosis) re-visit memories from previous lives. That brings up a couple obvious questions. Have people really lived previous lives? And if not, where do these 'memories' come from?

I really don't know the answers to these questions. It's probably not possible to know for sure. But it's interesting to think about. Could it be that what the Bible describes as "hell" is what other people would call "reincarnation"? The two concepts seem to have a lot in common.

Monday, July 10, 2006

She said yes

This past weekend was extremely interesting. I went to a comedy hypnosis show, a hypnotherapy class, and past-life regressions. I was planning to write about that but it'll have to wait a few days because I have some big news tonight.

It became official a few hours ago. I asked a girl I've been dating to be my girlfriend and she said 'yes'. I'm so excited!!! I really like her a lot. She's very smart and quite adorable. Her name is Melissa. She is from right here in Norman, Oklahoma. She works as a nurse extern and is finishing up nursing school at OU. I met her at the Reaves Park softball complex -- we're on the same softball teams. We've liked each other for a while, but had no idea that the other felt the same way until a few weeks ago when a friend on the team let us both know.

We were planning to go to Reaves Park tonight for softball, but the games were rained out. We went there anyway and had the whole park to ourselves. When I asked her the big question, we were sitting in the dugout where we first met. I carved our initials and the date on the back of the bench.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

British pasta

I'm hoping one of my British friends can help me with this one, or maybe someone else who's been there.

There was this pasta that I often ate in England and Wales. It usually had chicken in it. The noodles seemed like fettucini noodles and the sauce was whitish (looked like alfredo sauce). But I don't think it could have been fettucini alfredo. I've had fettucini alfredo several times in the U.S. and thought it was nasty. What little flavor it had was nothing like the stuff in Britain. The British stuff tasted more like chicken noodle soup than fettucini alfredo.

So what is that sauce called? If it's just a British version of alfredo sauce, what makes it so different? I want to make it but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Homogeneous churches

Why do people try to surround themselves with people who agree with them? I think a great example of this is with church. It seems like everyone tries to find a church where their beliefs and style preferences line up as closely as possible. I think that's crazy.

I'm a very moderate Christian, perhaps even a bit liberal by Oklahoma standards. The church I attend is VERY conservative. I think some of the things they believe are off the deep end, and they probably think some of what I believe is heretical.

But I wouldn't want it any other way. Why would I want a church that agreed with me about everything? I'd hate that. I wouldn't learn much. I'd be complacent. At my church I'm always challenged. They make me feel like it's possible I'm wrong, so I try harder to learn more or make sure I have good reasons for what I believe. If we disagree about something, I can learn from them or maybe they can learn from me.

So why are liberals so afraid of conservative churches and vice-versa? I don't understand. Someone please explain this to me.