Starting this fall, Mariana Irby (Bryn Mawr College '15) will be pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on linguistic anthropology. After spending a summer in Azerbaijan and an academic year in Kazakhstan, Mariana hopes to continue examining issues of language and identity in the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia.
Professor 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.
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.
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 is currently teaching Lenape Language Study.
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 treaching Field Methods and Intro to Linguistics in the fall.
All Linguistics majors are required to write a senior thesis in the fall of their senior year in Ling100/195 (Research Seminar). We have 38 majors graduating in 2016. This includes nine from Bryn Mawr College and eight from Haverford College.
Jacob Phillips '13 and Kat Montemurro '13 are reunited at the University of Chicago, where they are both pursuing PhDs in linguistics. Jacob works primarily in sociophonetics and coarticulation and Kat is interested in sign language linguistics and documentation.
Señor Filemón Pérez Ruiz answers students' questions in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Students participated in the Swarthmore & Haverford Linguistics Field School where they were trained in community-based language education.
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 currently teaching this course.
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 currently teaching Semantics.
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 is on leave until the fall of 2016.
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.