Aloha to the page of a wanderlusting writer juggling college life and several other hobbies into an eternally-short 24-hour day. I hope to shed light on the Dartmouth experience as I explore the brave new world of Hanover, NH and everything going to college here has to offer. In my free time, you can find me trying to learn a new language or building the perfect Spotify playlist (alternative/indie, anyone?). I hope you enjoy!
Taught by Gordon Henry, an Anishinaabe poet and author, this class taught me to explore Indigenous storytelling within digital contexts. I took this class with only seven other classmates, allowing us to really engage with films, comic books, and television shows in Indigenous languages or produced by Indigenous artists.
Taught by Timothy Pulju, this class taught me how to identify and understand how languages evolve over time and why. I analyzed and reconstructed fictional languages of imaginary nations in order to understand the link between language and culture, and ended up having such an appreciation for the complexity and beauty of language's place in history!
Taught by Lindsay Whaley, this class let me discover a newfound love for ancient apocalyptic literature. We analyzed ancient texts and compared them to modern apocalypses, looking at the zombie apocalypse phenomenon and other apocalypses in pop culture and comparing them to the ancient tradition of writing apocalypses. Additionally, I learned the Greek alphabet and now I can even stumble through ancient Greek passages.
Taught and organized by David Peterson, this class let me get into the shoes of a real linguist as we did fieldwork (virtually!!) with the Zophei language. I learned how to describe a never-before-learned language's phonology (sound system), how to characterize its grammar and words, and ultimately got to present my research to experts in the language family around the world in a workshop at the end of the term!
Taught by N. Bruce Duthu, this class taught me how Native literature can provide lens by which to evaluate, critique, and ultimately revise Federal Indian Law. During this class, I read works by Native authors like Tommy Orange and Louise Erdrich '76 alongside the opinions of definitive case opinions in American law and explained how literature can be a catalyst for Indigenous sovereignty.
Supervised by N. Bruce Duthu, I spent this off-term performing research after being awarded a Sophomore Research Scholarship to study contemporary Hawaiian cultural and linguistic revitalization. I studied 19th-century newspapers and contemporary Hawaiian texts in order to understand how Hawaiian language revitalization both past and present has advanced and continues to enable a contemporary bodied Hawaiian politic of sovereignty.
Taught by Laura McPherson, this class taught me about how languages create meaning through words. During this class, I learned how to analyze different languages' morphological processes and compare different approaches within the field as to morphological structures.
Taught by N. Bruce Duthu, this class offered me a glimpse into the lived realities of Native people in Indian Country Today. I learned about the economic, social, cultural, and historical roots for the struggles of Indigenous people today within the United States, and was able to write about the contemporary battle for Native Hawaiian visibility and Hawaiian sovereignty.
So happy you asked! Linguistics at Dartmouth is a unique program situated between a ton of different disciplines, but that's exactly what makes it amazing.
One of the first lectures I'd ever experienced at Dartmouth was during Dimensions, Dartmouth's admitted student program, when one of the Linguistics professors taught a small class to myself and a bunch of other '23s considering Dartmouth for college. The difference in teaching style and the engagement between the professor and students was (and is!) one of the moments I look back at as a leading reason I ended up choosing Dartmouth.
Linguistics at Dartmouth is a highly interdisciplinary program, in my experience, and the classes are extremely varied. Most classes require just one prerequisite -- Linguistics 1 -- and there are variety of classes within the department that also might focus on a specific sub-topic. During the winter term in 2021, for example, the department is offering classes on language revitalization (which I'm taking!) and on language acquisition, alongside more advanced classes that are offered every year.
The classes within the department range from being very data analysis drive to more qualitative. I've had linguistics classes that involve a lot of analysis of language data and others that involve the interrogation of linguistic literature. Linguistics can be very computational, involving coding and computer science, or very literary and involved in the understanding of language and culture. I find that the balance makes for a lot of fun -- as a prospective linguistics major, it's so nice to find such range within the program. Classes are often lecture based, but in my experience there's always a ton of engagement between the professor and students. We might work through a data set together, collaborate to come up with solutions for an assignment, and give a presentation to the class. Some classes might involve more traditional exams of questions, whereas others might have papers. It depends on the class, and that's what makes it so fun!
At the end of the day, as a smaller program, Linguistics really just allows for a ton of opportunities while also enabling some amazing connections between faculty and students. Even if you don't know what linguistics is, or what you want to do, it is most definitely a field that is one-of-a-kind and touches so many different disciplines while retaining its own individual charm. Hope this helps!