October 19-21, 2014 four WFU anthropology and linguistics students (Samantha Geary, Tyler Hollifield, Tripp Maloney, and Micah James) accompanied Prof. Margaret Bender on an ethnographic field trip to the Cherokee reservation in western NC. Students met with language teachers, elders, and staff at the New Kituwah Cherokee Language Immersion Academy. They learned about language-culture relationships in Cherokee and about the challenges and joys of Cherokee language revitalization. They attended the annual Cherokee Indian Fair, where they witnessed a Miss Cherokee Pageant (much more creative and empowering than Miss America!), ate traditional boiled breads, studied cultural displays, and learned to get out of the way fast as an unusually heated game of stickball took place. Despite rainy weather at the campsite, good spirits prevailed throughout! This unique educational opportunity was sponsored by the Anthropology Department.
Did you know that Papua New Guinea, which has only about 7 million people, has over 800 languages? Now you know.
The article is here.
“The “bilingual boost” extends beyond the classroom and into later life. Ellen Bialystok’s research, for example, shows that bilingual adults, as they get older, stay sharper for longer than monolingual adults do. The effect is about four years’ difference on average, which can make a considerable difference to quality of life in retirement. In research by the same team, bilingual adults also showed the delays in the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. They still got the disease, but they were able to maintain active lifestyles for longer – 5 to 6 years longer on average.”
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Periodically during the semester, WFU faculty and friends in languages and linguistics gather in Greene Hall 528 to discuss their research and current topics in the field.
For more information on our current schedule of Lingustics Circle presentations and talks subscribe to the Linguistics minor calendar, join our campus listserv or refer to this site's calendar of upcoming events.