Sunday, October 05, 2008

What can we do to support public higher education in WI?

Skyrocketing tuition and declining compensation levels for academic staff and faculty are two very serious problems. They both threaten our university's ability to deliver quality, affordable education to Wisconsin's citizens. And they both arise from the same structural problems.

Too often, university administrators and politicians have tried to pit the interests of students against those of us who work at the university. It is only by working together, however, that we can solve these problems. Come participate in a discussion with United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS) and the Coalition for Affordable Public Education (CAPE) about how to improve access to the UW-Madison while maintaining its excellence as a premier teaching and research institution.
Tuesday, October 21
Union South, TITU

United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), Local 223, AFT-Wisconsin, AFL-CIO, is a labor union democratically organized to represent its members: academic staff, faculty, and postdocs employed at UW-Madison and UW-Extension’s Madison campus. For more information, contact UFAS President Frank Emspak via You can also learn more about UFAS online at

(I was asked to pass this along and am happy to do it — it's a discussion we badly need to have on campus and elsewhere in the state.)


Anonymous said...

Can someone reply with how to tell if a vowel is tense or lax? I know (high, mid, low), (long, short), and (back, front), but how do I tell if it's tense or lax?


Anonymous said...

Most of the time, in talking about phonological contrasts, 'tense' is equivalent to 'long' and 'lax to 'short'.

Anonymous said...

No, that's not it. There are "high tense short" and "high tense long" vowels like in German Musik vs Musiker.

Man, I'll never get this! I wish someone could help.

Anonymous said...

Right, that's an additional wrinkle and why I said 'most of the time' earlier: tense and long normally pattern together but in some languages like German, depending on where stress falls, you can get tense vowels showing up short phonetically. I don't think that German makes phonological contrasts like that, but I'm no specialist.

--The other anonymous

Mr. Verb said...

Good grief -- I make a political post and get a string of comments about vowel quality and quantity!?!?!? Maybe I need to take a Wishydig-like vow to avoid politics.

Anon #2 has it right that these often co-occur in English. "Tense" is often used to mean greater articulatory effort -- though even Wikipedia notes that phonetic studies haven't shown this: With vowels, English beat, for ex., is usually produced farther to the edge of the vowel space than bit.

German has another odd wrinkle here in that the spoken standard has a long lax vowel for many speakers -- for 'umlaut a', with the lax in 's├Ągen' versus tense in 'Segen'.

Joe said...

I would add that 'tense' and 'lax' are not the best-defined terms. Labov uses 'peripheral' for what most call 'tense' and others have ways of avoiding the notion.