where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

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jlorber4
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where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by jlorber4 »

Hello,
My son is still in high school, but is interested in conlangs specifically and linguistics generally. Any advice about U.S. colleges that excel in these fields would be much appreciated (I'm an ecologist and am ignorant about this world). Thanks for your time!
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eldin raigmore
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by eldin raigmore »

Wayne State University in Detroit.
jlorber4
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by jlorber4 »

Thank you!
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eldin raigmore
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by eldin raigmore »

Or the East Pole (MIT). Or the West Pole (UCSD).
Or see
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Po ... ole_divide
.

If you’re specifically interested in conlanging. Brown University is probably good.

If you might be interested in Canadian colleges and universities, there are some good ones but I am not well-informed about them.
There are also some good ones in English-speaking countries on other continents.
But you said the US. And the further away he goes the more expensive it will be. You probably want to send him somewhere in his home state or a neighbouring state. (I assume?)

—————

BTW which languages is he already fluent enough in to take classes taught in them? Maybe he’s fluent in Spanish or French or German?
Nachtuil
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by Nachtuil »

As a Canadian I can say the University of Toronto downtown campus is good. They offer a lot of different language courses and I know one of the professors, Nathan Sanders, is very involved in using conlangs as a teaching tool. I've heard good things about the York University program but don't know much. I don't know about how other schools are but Christine Schreyer is a professor at the Okanagan campus for the University British Columbia and she has done conlanging work professionally for film. British Columbia is blessed with a lot of diversity in native languages so is a linguists playground.
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by kiwikami »

This is a little late, but Swarthmore College, outside Philly, is a small liberal arts school with a good linguistics program (I'm biased - it was my undergrad - but the teaching there was very personalized and it was super easy to get involved in actual research as early as sophomore year). Nathan Sanders used to teach there, but doesn't now, and although it's not in the US, I can also definitely recommend U. Toronto for the sake of Sanders alone, since like Nachtuil said he incorporates conlangs a good bit (but also because he's the single best professor I've ever had). Swarthmore is rather known for its ling program, and deservedly so, I think.

U. Chicago also has an excellent ling department, very widely varied and friendly to dabbling in different subfields, with at least one professor (Jason Riggle) who incorporates conlangs now and then (he also teaches a course on them, I believe). It's a bigger school, but class sizes are pretty small outside the intro courses, from what I've heard.

MIT and Stanford are both big-name and have earned it for ling, but they're also big schools where it's harder to get involved in research or the like. U. Penn also, I've heard, has a very good ling program, though I can't speak for its classes or individual professors.
Edit: Substituted a string instrument for a French interjection.

:eng: :mrgreen: | :fra: [:)] | ASL [:S] | :deu: [:|] | :tan: [:(] | :nav: [:'(]
Bob
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by Bob »

jlorber4 wrote: 06 Jul 2019 15:20 ...
Conlangs in Academia

So far as I know, there's no good scholars of conlanging in academia. I am a top scholar of conlanging and that's part of why I'm not in academia. There are actually many topics that are not at all marketable in academia and mostly not for the noble-sounding reasons you'd expect. I have a 5 year old facebook group, Conlangs and Linguistics, Constructed Languages, Invented Languages, which is one of the largest of its kind. Send him over to my group and I could help him begin research on the topic. You could also ask me here but I don't reply to non-facebook posts very consistently.

I really don't know of anyone else with a BA Linguistics or better that has specialized in conlanging and writes anything, anywhere, insightful about it. I have combed the academic literature over the years and it's abyssmal.

The conlangers I know, and I only joined this group a month or two ago, though I've been on other websites and facebook groups, are amateurs or linguists that just don't spend a lot of time studying conlanging. And or lack the anthropology to have a necessary big picture view of conlanging.

Linguistics in Academia

I got my BA Linguistics from Michigan State University in 2009. I was originally going to be a petroleum engineer but though I'd get the BA Linguistics and become a lawyer. But I didn't end up becoming a lawyer.

It's notable that, in general, linguistics is not a good degree to get. Instead, doctor, lawyer, engineer, business, these are the sort of things to invest money in. Unless you're rich or have some special reason for taking the plunge. I think you can become a speech pathologist with the degree but they really seem like braces sellers to me, people who sell people things they do not need. I've heard of some like PhD Linguistics people going to work for the government.

Me, I don't recommend a Masters or PhD for anyone except lifelong celibates. I specialize in the history of education and even think high school and bachelor degrees are wastes of time, more stuff people don't need but are tricked into buying because they live in the First World and we all have 75 year life expectancies.

Any university that has a full faculty for linguistics will suffice but each has its own specializations along with broader specializations of the university in question. I just went to one (of two) universities in my state that offered a BA Linguistics.

I have heard that if you want a good job out of it, it's Harvard or bust, so to speak. Especially if he wants to be a professor or somewhat successful academic of linguistics. I have also heard that going to Harvard is miserable. And by Harvard, I mean such top universities that have all the connections.

From what I read, and get a bunch of books, the thing is that academia is not a good job unless you're rich. The degrees take too long and then there's no jobs and they pay almost nothing at all. Most people are just forever adjuncts and they seem to be the lucky ones.

Linguistics is a huge, huge field and there's a million things to study in it, though some are more marketable and some are totally not marketable. Me, I'm the first person to do comparative studies, with a BA Linguistics or better, on about all 50 known logographic (hieroglyphic) writing systems. Which I could have made marketable but have decided against time and again over the years. I have made really amazing discoveries and nobody ever made a better decision. But I also am very rare to specialize in ancient languages - the sort of world travel and amazing wisdom and insight that I've gained from my studies, most linguists know nothing of. If anything, I've had more of an anthropologist experience. And there's a huge huge difference and divide between linguists and anthropologists. ( I like to call linguistics as "language science" but am unique in this. I think "language science" is more semantically transparent. )

Academia doesn't even appeal to most rich people. From what I've read and know of rich people, life isn't a game to them either.

...

That said, I don't know much about ecology. I know there's something like environmental engineering that some people were doing back in college. Does ecologist mean you're an academic? I think it does.

It sounds very science. Now, there's science, social science, and the humanities for topics of academic persuit. Science gets all the money and the rest get nothing. Science also has a lot of possibilities outside of academia, the others do not.

Linguistics is very different from the other social sciences, some of which I consider hogwash. It's made a lot of progress in the last 200 years, but not as much as it could, but still is just not popular. Only like the richest university in any state has a linguistics faculty. The rest have single linguists. A linguistics faculty has someone doing phonology, morphology, syntax, like that. The major branches. It is also very weird and different from anything else. Linguistics students are really shocked by what they hear in class. It's not at all taught in high schools, probably not even the most expensive ones. Linguists probably have very frustrating lives because nobody has any idea what they do and would be outraged and in disbelief to hear about it. It's just so cutting edge that no one has any idea that sort of discoveries they've made.

Notes on This Reply

I read the original post and some of the other replies then ran out of time.
Bob
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by Bob »

jlorber4 wrote: 06 Jul 2019 15:20 Hello,
My son is still in high school, but is interested in conlangs specifically and linguistics generally. Any advice about U.S. colleges that excel in these fields would be much appreciated (I'm an ecologist and am ignorant about this world). Thanks for your time!

Again, unless he wants to know the secrets of the universe or fly on the wings of the wind at the cutting edge of science and progress, it's really better if your kid because a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or businessman. And also have him know enough about finance because that's what really makes the best use of money earned. I got tons of friends from the top to the bottom in the finance world. It's hot hot hot. Poverty is not not not.

And linguistics professors and scholars need rich people to root for them. Money don't grow on trees. Conlangs also is not gigantic or monolithic, it needs rich friends and poor friends and everything in between.

Me, again, if I had become a petroleum engineer, whoo! I know where I'd be living now. I sold all that for some magic beans. But a lot of people don't end with magic beans. So think twice before "selling the cow". (References to the fairy tale "Jack and the Magic Beanstalk".)

And even if he never gets a BA Linguistics or even grasps much of it, well, it's more comfortable doing so from the other side of a degree in engineering. And this has seemingly been the situation about the more theoretical degrees since time immemorial. In the Middle Ages, it was Theology and The Bible that were encyclopedic and "all that glitters".

:)
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eldin raigmore
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Re: where to study linguistics/conlang in U.S.?

Post by eldin raigmore »

jlorber4 wrote: 06 Jul 2019 15:20 Hello,
My son is still in high school, but is interested in conlangs specifically and linguistics generally. Any advice about U.S. colleges that excel in these fields would be much appreciated (I'm an ecologist and am ignorant about this world). Thanks for your time!
You might also consider Oakland County Community College;
especially if you’re in SouthEast Michigan;
especially especially if you’re in Oakland County or one if its neighboring counties.
Check them out first! My impression that they have a good library for linguistics and conlanging may be out-of-date, or maybe applies only to their library and not to their classes.
And my impression that it’s cheap for Wayne and Macomb and Washtenaw county residents to go there may also no longer be true; maybe only a Oakland County residents get a break now.
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