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News

Congratulations to Vincent Mariani, ’23, on receiving a $3500 Erickson Discovery grant to fund original fieldwork with speakers of the West African language Anii. The money will support data collection for Vincent’s honors thesis on modality in Anii.

Well done, Vincent!

Amanda Harman, Class of 2022, will serve as Marshall for Linguistics at the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony. Amanda is a linguistics major with minors in Arts and Architecture and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. She has worked as a research assistant on the Central Pennsylvania Dialect Project with Dr. Frances Blanchette. Congratulations, Amanda!

Erli Tang, Class of 2021, has been chosen to be the Major Marshall for Linguistics, with a 3.9 GPA.  Erli is a double major in English and Japanese, and has conducted original research on sound change in Shanghainese, her native language.  

When asked about why she chose Linguistics, Erli answered “I like how Linguistics research makes statements based on solid evidence or statistics without losing the soft humanity part. It enables me to see and understand the world from many different angles, both scientifically and in the humanities. Besides, Linguistics itself is very fun to learn!”

Congratulations, Erli!

Undergraduate linguistics students on the University Park campus have formed an undergraduate linguistics club!  The club will begin meeting during the Fall 2020 Semester (virtually if necessary).  The club is not officially linked to the Linguistics Program, but we are excited to support this student-run initiative.  Any undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about the club should check out their homepage.

As of July 1, 2020, Dr. Michael Putnam is the new Program Director for Linguistics. The Program has benefitted greatly from Dr. John Lipski’s directorship over the past five years, and we are grateful for all his hard work. We are looking forward to the future under Dr. Putnam’s leadership!

The course description for the new course is as follows: “As one of the universal tools of humanity, language is a means of discovering both the diversity and universality found in humanity. This course is designed to help the student appreciate linguistic diversity, both for diversity’s sake alone and for what it tells us about the possibilities of human language and human culture. In this course, we will investigate how languages and cultures interact and affect each other. This involves understanding the theory in both the linguistic and anthropological sciences, as well as its application in the linguistic-anthropology interface. A secondary goal of the course is exposure to a wide variety of languages and cultures.”

Please join us if you are interested!

Dr. Rena Torres Cacoullos, Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Penn State University Park, has been named a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America in the Class of 2020.  LSA Fellows are scholars who, in the estimation of their peers, have made distinguished contributions to the discipline of linguistics through sustained effort over the course of their career.

This is a great honor.  Congratulations, Dr. Torres Cacoullos!

Dr. Giuli Diussias, Professor of Spanish, Linguistics and Psychology, was awarded the 2019 Faculty Scholar Medal for her outstanding research accomplishments.  She was one of five Penn State faculty members so honored in 2019.  You can learn more about Dr. Giuli Diussias and her work in this Penn State News story.

Seven Linguistics and African studies students spent most of the month of May 2018 traveling in Benin, West Africa as part of a course on Language in Africa, taught by linguistics professor Deborah Morton.  As part of the trip, the students prepared a project on multilingualism in Beninese cultures, and also helped with supporting the development of the minority Anii language through creating videos of traditional cultural and linguistic activities. 

One of the videos they helped create (about a children’s game): 

shorter version:

The students presented about their experiences to the Center for Language Science on September 28, 2018.  They highlighted the value of experiencing other cultures and lifestyles for themselves, and also how the trip complemented what they had studied in their course.