spacer spacer spacer
yalealumnimagazine.com   about the Yale Alumni Magazine   classified & display advertising   back issues 1992-present   our blogs   The Yale Classifieds   yam@yale.edu   support us


The Yale Alumni Magazine is owned and operated by Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of Yale University.

The content of the magazine and its website is the responsibility of the editors and does not necessarily reflect the views of Yale or its officers.


Comment on this article

Linguists Return for Their First Reunion

It was 2:00 p.m., November 10, when I opened the door on 270 Crown Street to the Haskins Laboratories, where I once worked as a research assistant. I had returned to New Haven for the first linguistics reunion, and the big turnout for the tour of Haskins, the cradle of much important research, bode well for the forthcoming main event.

Two hours later, the reunion officially began with opening remarks by department chair Stephen Anderson and a welcome by Graduate School dean Susan Hockfield. Listening to her praise for him, I reflected upon the way he had reinvigorated the department after his predecessors had saved it from extinction.

There followed a panel on historical linguistics, and the attendees ranged from recent graduates to those who graduated before I was born. After a social hour at the Sterling Library, we were ushered to dinner and entertained by New York University linguistics professor Paul Postal, who treated us to a wonderful talk about the use of the word “squat.”

The next day began with a panel on phonetics. It became clear that while there is still a strong tendency to relegate phonetics to footnote status, there is increasing recognition for the field.

In the afternoon session on “Endangered Languages,” panelists made a plea to save the many languages that are on the brink of disappearance. In the final session of the day—“What can you do with a linguistics degree?”—the lineup consisted of a lexicographer, a consultant, and an actress-belly dancer, demonstrating just how versatile linguists can be.

Later that afternoon, I strolled near campus and noted that although the bookstore has been transformed from a nondescript establishment into a fashionable, upscale store, most other businesses have remained virtually unchanged. This made me nostalgic for the “good old days” of my time at Yale.

The last dinner was held in the dinosaur room of the Peabody Museum. At my table, nonlinguistic subjects, such as an unsolved murder case and a famous hamburger restaurant that some thought was overrated, dominated the dinner talk. Some indefatigable graduate students even went out for late-night bowling!

The first linguistics reunion has definitely been a reminder that those who came before me in the department have made many contributions in all areas of the discipline. I came away with a renewed sense of pride and responsibility, and a determination to make my own mark. I was happy to be a witness to and participant in such a gathering, as the department enters the new century.




Note to Readers

This article is provided by the Association of Yale Alumni.

Although the Yale Alumni Magazine is not part of the AYA, we are pleased to give this page to the AYA every issue as a service to our readers.


©1992–2012, Yale Alumni Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Yale Alumni Magazine, P.O. Box 1905, New Haven, CT 06509-1905, USA. yam@yale.edu