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Meet Hailey!

To celebrate our Spring 2020 linguistics graduates, we are featuring their story on our webpage. We hope you enjoy learning about our amazing soon-to-be alumni!

young woman with glasses smiling supporting her head with hand

We asked Hailey a few questions. Here are her responses:

Where are you from, how long have you been in college, how long have you been at Boise State?

I was raised in the Treasure Valley, and I’m the second person in my family to go to Boise State. I’ve attended BSU for all four years of my undergraduate degree and I’m so glad that I did.

What has been your favorite part about studying linguistics?

My favorite part about studying linguistics has been the passion for it that I’ve seen in students and professors alike. In such a specialized major as this one, you know that all your classmates are there because they really care about the subject and the socio matters that it interacts with. It’s so evident, as well, that all of the professors are highly knowledgeable about their subject and really care about helping their students learn it.

Which was your favorite class?

My favorite class at Boise State was a linguistics-adjacent course that I took in my last semester: Literary Translation with Clyde Moneyhun. While it’s technically an English course, I would highly recommend that any linguistics student take it if they are able. Getting to use my four years of linguistics study to creatively translate poems was one of the most fun and engaging classroom experiences that I’ve had.

How has linguistics changed the way you interact with others, if at all?

Linguistics has taught me that it is the communities who decide their languages, not languages that decide how the community speaks. Not only does this idea apply to areas of debate over “correct” grammar or pronunciation, but it also applies to all of the systems in our community as a whole. The systems are for the people and decided by the people, not vice versa. Additionally, studying linguistics has given me a much bigger appreciation for language’s power to strengthen communities, whether it’s native peoples speaking their own language together or groups of people speaking the same dialect of English.

If you could have any career in linguistics (as out of the box as you want) what would it be?

If I could pick any career in linguistics, I would love to work in historical linguistics. In my courses at Boise State, I’ve learned that I greatly enjoy analyzing and comparing older texts to develop comprehensive grammars of the language. While modern field linguistics does extremely similar things with undocumented languages, the part I love most is studying and comparing all of the data. Add to that the fascinating field of language history, and it’s ideal.