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How are linguistics classes at Dartmouth?

A: Gabe Gilbert '23

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!

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