Linguistics Professor Donna Jo Napoli giving a linguistics lecture at Gallaudet University, the only university in the world specifically for deaf people. This was a phonetics lecture, on work done with Professor Nathan Sanders and Becky Wright '11. Donna Jo will be teaching the Structure of American Sign Language in the fall.
The Navajo Language Academy workshop participants rehearsing a syntax song that Ted Fernald wrote, and which consists of phrase structure rules for a basic grammar of Navajo. Left to right: Ted Fernald, Rose Gambler, Louise Ramone, and Fermin Silago. Professor Fernald will be treaching the Structure of Navajo in the spring of 2017.
Jay Wu '15 is now working as the Media Relations Manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C. The Center brings elements of Linguistics as well Gender & Sexuality studies into their communications work.
Assistant Professor Jamie Thomas (left) and students from her First Year Seminar: Languages of Fear, Racism, and Zombies, interact with the Samuel G. Morton Collection at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology as part of their exploration of 19th century discourses of the humanity, difference, and scientific racism. See students exhibit here. Jamie is teaching Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics in the fall.
Shelley DePaul's students work on elements of the Lenape Language, such as analyzing and rewriting text samples according to current spelling conventions, writing and speaking original works, and developing projects and resources in the language. Shelley will be teaching Lenape Language Study in the spring of 2018.
Emily Gasser says goodbye to young members of the Wamesa speech community after a week of fieldwork in Windesi Village. Professor Gasser studies the phonology and morphology of Wamesa and its historical relationships to other nearby languages. She will be teaching Field Methods in the fall.
David Harrison shows Yokoim speaker Nick Waikai the video playback of his water spirit myth. Professor Harrison works with speakers of endangered languages helping them capture their words in Talking Dictionaries. Professor Harrison will be teaching Anthropological Linguistics in the fall.
There are 7,000 languages in the world, and we're interested in studying all of them. Linguistics is the scientific study of language—we develop techniques to explore patterns that all human languages have in common and investigate the ways in which each is unique. Our explorations yield insights not only about languages, but also about the nature of the human mind.
Linguistics at Swarthmore
Students learn linguistics at Swarthmore through interacting with the information and each other. Coursework and problem sets challenge students to develop their own insights and construct arguments supporting their claims. Professors guide the process, ultimately leading to a fuller understanding of linguistic theory than one could attain by absorbing theories presented in classes and texts.
The community of learning is enhanced and expanded by the Linguistics Department's strong ties to Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Swarthmore Linguistics professors teach courses on all three campuses (though the vast majority are at Swarthmore), and linguistics courses regularly include students from all three schools.
Why study Linguistics?
The relevance of linguistics to the fields of anthropology, cognitive science, language study, philosophy, psychology, and sociology has been recognized for a long time. Linguistics crosslists courses from ten departments, reflecting the diversity of fields with strong relevance to our field. The interdisciplinary nature of the field, and our program, further encourages students to broaden their horizons and interact with a wide variety of students, scholars, and ideas.
Because the very nature of modern linguistic inquiry is to build arguments for particular analyses, the study of linguistics gives the student finely honed argumentation skills, which stand in good stead in careers in law, business, and any other profession where such skills are crucial.