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Linguistics News

Saving an Endangered Language

Saving an Endangered Language

August 14, 2012

As the old school bus wound its way through the steep mountain passes, the students gazed out the windows at the lush, tropical topography unfolding before them. At the outskirts of the village, the bus shuddered to a halt at…

The Middle East: Choose Your Lens

The Middle East: Choose Your Lens

April 25, 2012

The Middle East cuts a wide swath: it contains a number of countries, a multitude of languages, cultures and customs, and thousands of years of history. Interests and conflicts resonate on a global scale, such as the…

Photos by Brad Wilson.

Being Human

April 22, 2012

We humans are unique animals. Each of us may define what it means to be human differently. We place value in memory, form cultures, innovate, question the purpose of life, and dream of the future. Since the beginning of our…

USC Dornsife's Jennifer Do stepped out from behind her laboratory workstation and onto a stage to participate in the 2012 Miss Vietnam of Southern California Pageant. The sophomore majoring in biological sciences decided to enter the world of pageantry after researching the Westminster, Calif., Vietnamese community for a linguistics course. Photo by David L. Pham.

From Classroom to Center Stage

February 22, 2012

When USC Dornsife sophomore Jennifer Do gracefully crossed the stage of the Miss Vietnam of Southern California Pageant, her confidence and natural elegance evidenced a well-seasoned contestant. Yet before the Jan. 27…

Linguist Noam Chomsky chats with a student during a recent conference honoring the work of Jean-Roger Vergnaud, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and professor of linguistics in USC Dornsife, who died Jan. 31. Photos by Pamela J. Johnson.

A Tribute to Words

May 27, 2011

One of the founders of modern linguistics Noam Chomsky recalled in the 1950s when a prominent senior linguist told him flat out that he would no longer conduct analyses but only collect data. The senior linguist told Chomsky…

Linguist Jean-Roger Vergnaud, a pioneer in syntax and phonology, taught in USC College until May 2010. Photo credit Antonio Nava.

In Memoriam: Jean-Roger Vergnaud, 65

February 3, 2011

Jean-Roger Vergnaud, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities, professor of linguistics and a major contributor to generative grammar, has died. He was 65. The USC College professor died at USC University Hospital surrounded…

Bruce Zuckerman, professor of religion and linguistics, with Dead Sea Scrolls fragments at St. Mark’s Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Teaneck, N.J. Photo credit Kenneth Zuckerman.

Let There Be Light

June 24, 2010

We all know what New Jersey is famous for. The birthplace of Ol' Blue Eyes? Where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? Heaven help us, Jersey Shore? Fuggedaboutit! The Garden State is home to one of the greatest…

Majoring in international relations in USC College, Amy Herrmann and Ken Sofer will travel to the Middle East this summer to learn Arabic after each was awarded a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

Culturally Speaking

May 25, 2010

Arabic is the fastest-growing foreign language taught in universities and colleges across the country, according to the Modern Language Association. Enrollment in Arabic classes grew 127 percent nationally from 2002 to 2006,…

USC College alumnus Paul Frommer created a language for the film <em>Avatar</em>. Photo by Max S. Gerber

The Science of Language (Na'vi, That Is)

April 26, 2010

"Stars are fascinating," Paul Frommer enthused. "I recall many a New York night when as a child I stood out in a vacant lot bundled up against the cold, holding a star map and a flashlight covered in red cellophane [red light…

<em>Avatar</em> director James Cameron on the set of the film. Photo credit Mark Fellman, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

A World All Their Own

December 23, 2009

Filmmakers are storytellers, but they are also architects and anthropologists. They must create whole worlds in which their stories can unfold. And the worlds they create must be coherent and believable, be they a…