Senior Spotlight: Shannon Foley, Class of 2019

Why did you choose to study Linguistics?

I’ve always really loved anything related to language. I remember learning about verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs in elementary school, and thinking it was so cool! In high school I really liked language courses, but I never felt passionate about any particular language, at least not enough to pursue it as a major in college. 

I came to UVM undecided, but chose to take LING courses right away, even though I had no idea what that really meant (like most people, I just knew that it had something to do with language). After two semesters, I finally declared it as my major! 

Through studying Linguistics, you become more aware of the intricacies/patterns in language that you hear and use on a regular basis. I’m really fascinated by how systematic it is! Recognizing how language varies within and between individuals or communities, and also how it can reflect/reveal our societal views, changes the way you see the world. I think having more linguistic awareness and knowledge is something that everyone could benefit from, and that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much.

What was your favorite LING course at UVM?

There are so many! African American English, Language and Gender, and American English Dialects were my favorite courses related to my concentration (sociolinguistics). 

For formal/core courses, I really enjoyed Introduction to Phonetics, and Introduction to Syntax. 

Special topics courses are always worth taking – I took Discourse Analysis & Law, Language in Media, and Corpus Linguistics, and they’re all at the top of my list of favorite courses!

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Don’t be afraid to ask! Be proactive in identifying and asking for opportunities that will contribute to your personal or professional growth. Related to this, professors are such a great resource, and the amount of support they give to students is what makes the program at UVM so great. 

What are you hopes/plans for the future?

After graduation I’ll be moving to the White Mountain region of NH, where I’ll be working on dialect/sociophonetic research on northern New Hampshire/northwestern Maine. I’ll also be finishing up the research I’ve been doing on northern New York with Julie. 

At the same time I’ll be working on applications to graduate programs for the Fall 2020 term! 

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