Reminiscences

Have a great story or fond memory from your time in the Linguistics Department? Please share it with us!

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5 reminiscences

  1. In my time, we were still in the two houses on Queen’s Park. I remember hanging out for hours in the second floor common room, where I learned the most about life and academics. Al Gleason showed me how well linguistics matched my interests and enthusiasms, and I idolized the totally cool Jack Chambers, whose affinity for Miles Davis matched my own. (How many professors went with their students to hear Weather Report on campus?). And my mentor, Carlos Yorio, whom we lost so young during the AIDS years, whose support and encouragement through the end of my undergraduate years and my masters thesis sent me to UCLA to start my PhD in linguistics, (although I graduated in Neuroscience). Linguistics taught me how to think, reason, and write, and shaped my life in academics, where I have worked for the last 25 years. I remain so grateful.

  2. There are so many! Though it did not take place on campus, one enduring memory for me is from the summer of 1977. I was standing with Keren Rice, my research supervisor, on the shore of the Mackenzie River at Fort Good Hope. I was listening to the candle ice as it tinkled and sparkled in the spring sunshine, a stage in the process of the river breaking up after the deep freeze of the Arctic winter. This, and all the varied beauty of Dene lands, people, stories, and languages, was for me one telling moment in my life as a linguist.

  3. When Keren’s infant grandson visited for the first time, Keren went from door to door going, “Hi! I’m just showing off the baby!” And then Alana leaned over in the lounge and went, “Félix, tu es francophone?”

  4. I remember when Yves and I got a phone call to say we had won a trip to Indonesia in a contest we had entered (1987). There was a skill-testing question and they said they would call us back so as to give us time to compose ourselves for the question. We told someone, and next we knew there was a whole crowd of students, staff, and faculty all piled in our shared office to help us with the big question when the phone call came. I don’t remember the exact question but it was something like: What is 3 plus 2? It was a wonderful feeling to have so much help from so many people to make sure we got it right. Linguists are always there for you. (We had a great trip, by the way!)
    This is one of a million memories, spanning 31 years.

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