Ida Hoequist is a member of the class of 2014 who is pursuing a major in German Studies, as well as an independent Linguistics major. At Oberlin, she has used German, French, Old Icelandic, and Kalaallisut.
I speak German in the classes I take for my German Studies major, when I tutor, and when I Skype my family, and I try to read/speak French for fun so I don’t lose all of it. I studied the grammar of Kalaallisut in a linguistics seminar and I am currently learning Old Icelandic in a private reading. I was part of the Translation Symposium as a first-year and I have been hosting German Table once a week in Tank for a few years now.
Our handful of linguistics professors and the German department are all hugely supportive people. The filing cabinet that contains all past IMs [independent majors] was helpful when I was developing my major, not just to gather ideas, but to feel like it was even doable for a student to undertake the creation of a major – it was nice to know that there were people who went before me. It gave me the first sense of academic community that I’d ever felt. And, of course, I am immensely grateful for the existence of my fellow linguist students. The language list on ObieMAPS, actually, is also a great thing! (If I feel down, I sometimes pull it up and get happy just looking at all the different languages represented on campus. I wish there was a corresponding list for students.)
I attended the Linguistic Society of America Institute this summer at U Mich, where I took linguistics courses and met a lot of brilliant linguists. My life plan is to document dying languages. Of course, I’ll try to keep speaking my languages no matter where I am, not in an academic way, just in a this-is-part-of-who-I-am way.[NOTE: We don’t yet have a linguistic map of students, but we do have a brief run-down of the linguistic diversity of the Class of 2017!]