We would like to thank our new grad students for sharing the information below with us. We wanted to know about their research interests, why they chose Rutgers, which team they were supporting during the World Cup, their feelings about moving to Rutgers, expectations, anything about their country, city, life, and any secrets that we shouldn’t tell anyone. We greatly appreciate their contribution.
Warning: The content you are going to enjoy is extremely interesting. Read at your own risk!
Augustina Pokua Owusu
I am Augustina Pokua Owusu, a Ghanaian student.
This is the flag of my country. I like reading and watching movies. My research interests include Modality in Akan, syntax-semantics interface, and pragmatics, the Linguistic Landscape of Ghana and Code-switching.
For this world cup all the teams I supported disappointed me. I supported my national team, The Black Stars of Ghana who got kicked out at the group stages and the Brazil National team who suffered a 7-1 loss from Germany. I still can’t believe Germany took this trophy home.
In Ghana I live in Accra, the capital of the country. It is the busiest and most populated city in the country; I guess it is sort of like New York. Ghanaians are very hospitable and welcoming especially to foreigners. We have many tourist sites in Ghana; notable among them is the Cape Coast and Elmina castles which were used for Slave Trade and the Kakum National Park. The Kakum National Park is my favorite; it has a canopy walkway on top of trees. I go there whenever I feel like challenging myself; I am afraid of heights.
Though leaving home feels frightening, I am excited about meeting new friends, new culture, and eating new food. Though I haven’t met anyone in person, the Linguistic department seems very friendly and warm. I look forward to meeting everyone.
I am very much excited to join Rutgers university. I am the only one in my family/village who is going to do PHD from a foreign university. I chose Rutgers to do PHD because I believe that Rutgers is one of the premier universities in the USA and it provides a very competitive environment for study and research. Rutgers has an exciting and impressive phonology, syntax, semantics and syntax-semantics interface program. While I am very interested in the generative Syntax, Semantics and Syntax-Semantics interface, I strongly believe that it is equally important to get insights from different perspectives. For this, exposure to phonological theory is very important, as will be to gain broader knowledge of linguistics. Being a research scholar at Rutgers would provide me the opportunity to enhance my understanding of semantic and phonological theory with a more rigorous formal training in the discipline. It will also advance my study of syntax from multiple perspectives.
Livia Camargo Tavares Souza
It was the Amazon that brought me to linguistics and not the other way around. Two Kaxinawa travellers I met in Rio de Janeiro made me realize linguistics could be a door into Brazilian linguistic diversity. Before that, I was majoring in literature and working as a translator, so I didn’t have much of a background in linguistics. I was lucky enough though, to find a visiting professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who was willing to exchange advising sessions for rock climbing. So during my master’s, I often found myself trying to figure out syntax both on mountains and in the jungle.
My supervisor was coordinating the language documentation program at Museu do Índio and had me join the project on Yawanawa, so I was able to do fieldwork on this language and spend some time in Acre every year. I love the long canoe rides, the açaí berries, sleeping on a hammock, and trying to learn the language.
The program also had a great reading group that gave us a chance to share unsolved puzzles and learn a little bit about other Amerindian languages — Kuikuro, Paresi, Kotiria, Kĩsêdjê, Pirahã, Kaingang…
Looking forward to sharing some puzzles (and hopefully some climbs and some drinks) with everyone at the department!
Livia (the one with the really long name, full of prepositions)
A former DC native, I graduated from the University of Maryland, majoring in Linguistics and double minoring in Philosophy and French. My research interests include but are not limited to: language acquisition, semantics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science in general. I chose Rutgers because it has such a wide range of excellent researchers in many fields. Extracurricular interests include yoga, hiking and other such outdoor activities, novice guitar and mandolin playing, medieval French literature, my niece and nephew, and of course, my cat.
I was born in and grew up in California. I lived in a suburb outside Sacramento, the state capitol, for most of my youth. I studied Linguistics and Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate.
The Linguistics program at UC Santa Cruz was demanding, but I quickly realized I had been looking to study this subject my entire life. I came to this realization after only a few lectures in our beginning Semantics course. The ability to systematically explain ambiguity, entailment, and implicature seemed like magic at the time.
UC Santa Cruz is (in)famous in the UC system for having a distinct personality; this personality occasionally leaked into the Linguistics department.
I chose to continue my studies at Rutgers because those professors who taught what I loved to learn recommended Rutgers. I also wanted a change of scenery and perspective. I’ve never properly been on the east coast and expect (and almost hope) to be overwhelmed with the change of scenery.
I’m a bit of a computer nerd and like putzing with UNIX systems. I used to play a lot of video games in high school but I rarely play games now. I enjoy reading and recently discovered Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Reading about cults and secret societies is a guilty pleasure of mine. I like brewing and drinking loose leaf tea in the gongfu style.
As mentioned before, I’m both excited and anxious about moving to New Jersey. I plan on driving to New Jersey from California and am excited to see parts of the United States I’ve never seen before. I’ve never really experienced a winter season that contains snow and while I’ve visited San Francisco and Los Angeles, I’ve never lived in either. I don’t get the sense New Brunswick is a large city but being so close to Philadelphia and New York (both of which I’ve never visited) makes me imagine a much busier, fast-paced environment than I’ve ever experienced.
Knowing that I’ll soon be meeting a group of people from all over the world that are as passionate about my passion goes a long way towards calming my nerves. I’m excited to meet you all, and I’ll see you soon!
Oh, and as to secrets that shouldn’t be told to anyone… I don’t have any. Or, do I?