On the Connecticut River
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Anonymous Hall at Dartmouth College.

Each major at Dartmouth has a required "culminating experience": one option in most departments, including Linguistics, is writing an honors thesis. However, other options exist for one's culminating experience, such as undertaking an independent study or enrolling in a senior seminar. I opted for the linguistics senior seminar, which, this year, is titled Indo-European Linguistics; the course is taught by Prof. Pulju, who I've now taken more classes with than any other professor during my time at Dartmouth: Semantics and Pragmatics, History of English, Historical Linguistics, and now Indo-European Linguistics!

Now, of course, for the course description: "Overview of the structure of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European and of the major developments from PIE to descendant languages. The course will focus on controversial topics in Indo-European linguistics, and on their relevance for broader issues in historical linguistics and for linguistic theory in general." We're just finishing up the "overview" portion of the course: one unit on phonology and one unit on morphology.

A textbook on Proto-Indo-European Language and Culture on top of a notebook with notes on Proto-Indo-European tense
About to get into some PIE morphology notes!

Reconstructing Proto-Indo-European (PIE) roots has been fun, fascinating, a little scary, and full of the letter H. We're moving into the final portion of the class, which involves writing a research paper on a phenomenon of our choice in Indo-European linguistics. I'm in the early stages of looking into a niche alternative hypothesis surrounding laryngeal theory. I won't get into the weeds here, but laryngeals are essentially mystery consonants that no longer exist in PIE's descendant languages but influenced the development of various vowel alternations. I'm investigating the hypothesis that these mystery consonants were actually mystery vowels—the general consensus is that they were indeed consonants, but there are a lot of fascinating papers to get into on the subject! 

Indo-European Linguistics has been a really nice way of wrapping up the major so far. It's great practice in applying all sorts of topics I've learned about over the years, and I get to have one last class with almost all of my linguistics major friends :)

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