May 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Happy Beginnings | Linguistics Research ‘Changed My Entire Career Path’

Peter Andrews, Blue Ribbon Winner at Student Research Expo, pictured with poster and blue ribbon

Peter Andrews, Blue Ribbon Winner at Student Research Expo

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Peter Andrews ’18, a senior double-majoring in Linguistics and French, earned a blue ribbon for his presentation on the early results of the Southeast Ohio Language Project’s first study of vowel changes in the Athens region at the Ohio University Student Research and Creativity Expo on April 12.

Andrews double-majored in French through the Honors Tutorial College, where he wrote a senior thesis (in French) about the interaction of German and French languages spoken by the people living in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. His analysis was based on the interviews he conducted over the 2016 winter break, in the cities of Reims, Metz, and Strasbourg.

‘The Athens Bubble’ Diphthong

Recent research and creative inquiries in the Linguistics Department have focused heavily on sociolinguistic variations in language forms. Students have been engaged in projects examining language varieties spoken among indigenous communities in Belize as well as the effects of multilingualism and its effects on cognitive and linguistic development. Others, while enrolled in a “directed study,” were busy constructing their own sociohistorical contexts in support of constructed languages they imagined and then trained others to speak for use in constructed scenes. Still other Linguistics majors were enlisted by faculty mentors as field workers gathering sociolinguistic interview data for the Southeast Ohio Language Project.

Andrews’ presentation was titled “The Athens bubble: The /aw/ diphthong in an urban-oriented enclave of rural Southeast Ohio.”

Recently he accompanied colleagues from the Southeast Ohio Language Project to the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics in Blacksburg, Va., where the latest data was presented and new collaborations were established.

“Last year, Dr. (Michelle) O’Malley and Dr. Sinae Lee helped me get involved with research which changed my entire career path,” Andrews said.

Upon graduation, Andrews is taking his talents in sociolinguistic research to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., where he will continue his linguistic studies on a full tuition scholarship while also working as a TA alongside the likes of Walt Wolfram, Erik Thomas and Robin Dodsworth – all world-renowned sociolinguists.



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