Donna Jo Napoli, Swarthmore Professor and Gene Mirus from Gallaudet University teaching a seminar in American Sign Language at Siena School for Liberal Arts, where Donna Jo is a Fulbright Teaching Scholar this spring & summer. Click here to read more about Professor Napoli.
James Howard '18 and friends in Micronesia. James is a participant in the Swarthmore & Haverford Linguistics Field School where he will be trained in community-based language education. The Linguistics Field School is a three year project funded by the National Science Foundation. Click here for more info.
Lewis Esposito '16 presenting his research in Advanced Research Methods in Linguistics LING090. This new course prepares students for writing their senior thesis and other advanced linguistics research. Professor Nathan Sanders (far right) is teaching the course in the spring 2016 semester.
Molly Wilder, '09 recently republished her article "A Quest for Student Engagement Manifested in Language: A Linguistic Analysis of Writing Conference Discourse" in the Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors. The article was based on her Swarthmore Linguistics senior thesis and was originally published in an undergraduate journal, Young Scholars in Writing. She is now in her 3rd year of a joint JD/PhD in Philosophy at Georgetown University.
Students in Professor Jamie Thomas' seminar on language and identity in the African Diaspora in Mexico pose at the exhibit on "Audacious Freedom, 1776-1876" at the African American Museum of Philadelphia. Professor Thomas is teaching Structure of Swahili this 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 is teaching Semantics II in the fall.
Shelby Daniel-Wayman, 16' (left) from Donna Jo Napoli's class "Supporting Literacy Among Deaf Children" shows a student her bilingual-bimodal ebook project.This course was done in collaboration with Students from Tri-College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Gallaudet University.
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. This fall she is teaching Field Methods, as well as Phonetics & Phonology and Intro to Linguistics.
Brook Lillehaugen, Tri-College Assistant Professor, and ethnohistorian Michel R. Oudijk examine 400 year old manuscripts written in Zapotec at the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City. Oudijk and Lillehaugen collaborate with other researchers on the Ticha Project, an online digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec texts.
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. Students also view and discuss a variety of lithic artifacts. View student projects.
Shelley DePaul, Lenape Language Instructor (right) and Holly Smith '14
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.
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.