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Linguistics News

Desano indigenous researchers Marcelino Massa (blue shirt) and Frank Matos (gray shirt) explaining to Dr. Silva (green shirt) the significance of the image on the cover of a book about the Desano myth of origins. Photo Credit: DLDP Team 2013 (c) copyright. All rights Reserved.

No Loss For Words

January 15, 2014

Deep in the Amazon, Evangeline Alva had just awoken from a nap when she heard her first words in Desano. “A man said to me ‘Good morning, sleepy head,’ ” the linguistics major at USC Dornsife recalled…

The USC Dornsife research team will study octopus behavior in the wild and in captivity at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.

Octopus Got Your Tongue?

January 6, 2014

It’s an unusual coupling: A linguist and a marine biologist are working together to investigate the human tongue. In their study, the USC Dornsife researchers are using two species of octopus and tiny worms that helped…

By examining whole genome sequencing data of living Europeans in more than 40 populations, USC Dornsife’s Peter Ralph has found that the genetics of all human beings are linked more closely than previously believed. Photo by Susan Bell.

We Are Family

August 7, 2013

New research by Peter Ralph of USC Dornsife has confirmed that everyone on Earth is related to everyone else on the planet. So the Trojan Family is not just a metaphor. Turns out, we’re also linked by genetics more…

Vellore Adithi won first place in the humanities category at the 2013 Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work. Adithi's research (shown on computer screen) looked at Jewish-American citizenship and ethnic expression in 20th century America in the work of comic book artist Will Eisner. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Amazing Adventures in Undergrad Research

May 15, 2013

Vellore Adithi loves comic books. Growing up, the Missouri native remembers travelling to India during the summer to visit her family and voraciously reading Archie, Tin Tin, Asterix and Batman.   Adithi, a USC Dornsife…

An assistant professor of linguistics since Fall 2011, Khalil Iskarous spent a decade as a research scientist at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Conn. A Fulbright scholar, Iskarous was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. While in middle school, he and his family moved to New York. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Khalil Iskarous

May 7, 2013

The strongest muscle in the human body, the tongue is our sole muscle connected only on one end. Like an octopus arm, the tongue contains no skeletal support and uses its many muscle groups to contract, lengthen, bend and…

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…