Donald Trump has baffled all political analysts by making it this far in the race and maintaining his lead. They have, for the most part, come to the conclusion that Trump is running a campaign driven by fear. He has latched on to the country’s rampant xenophobia and islamophobia, especially in the wake of the Paris attacks. Some might say this makes him a good businessman, he knows what will sell, and fear always will. Most will say this will make him a terrible president. If he was selling fire proof clothing, Trump would most likely not be opposed to yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. He has called for measures like registering the country’s muslims in a database, and building a giant wall. As someone who has spent an extended amount of time studying Hitler’s rise to power in a economically and nationally devastated Germany, from both external and internal perspectives, I am scared. Trump is not the powerful speaker that Hitler was, but his ideas are conveyed well enough to get him where he is today. The difference, however, is that Hitler believed that what he was promising, while Trump only seems to care that his promises will bring him votes. I dearly hope that we never get to find out what Trump really believes in.
I was waiting for a friend to pick me up for dinner when I heard the first news of the Paris attacks on NPR. I immediately went to other news sites to try to wrap my head around what happened and find out what we knew so far. As soon as I began gathering information I knew it was going to be non-stop news for a while. It hit me pretty quickly that this would be on the same scale as 9/11 for France. When my friend arrived, before we went to dinner, we sat and discussed it for a bit. She does not have the same obsessive tendencies that I do, when it comes to following the daily news cycle, and she brushed it off as just another shooting, just another terrorist attack, it being only weeks after the Russian plane came down in Egypt. But as a explained the details to her, she, too, realized what a big deal the attacks would prove to be. They added fuel to the fire of xenophobia and islamophobia, changing political discourse worldwide. I will discuss a particular part of this discourse in my next post.
Earlier in the semester, I attended a discussion of German dialects led by a member of OSU’s German staff, encouraged by both the German and Linguistics clubs. He discussed several dialects, including Yiddish and Swabisch. I found the talk very interesting, as I am both a German and Linguistics major, and I have a particular interest in German dialects. My own experience with dialects comes from my time in Passau, Bavaria, where I stayed for the summer before my Senior year. My host family spoke Bairisch, and though I was very confused at first, I managed to learn a view words and phrases by the end of my stay. My personal hope is that, after graduation, I can apply for a Fulbright scholarship in German, and work on German Linguistics, specifically with German dialects. I hope to make the many varied dialects of German more accessible to Linguistic researchers worldwide, as I recently discovered that there is very little research available in languages that are not German. As the dialects of German have older roots than standard German, which came from the dialects, closer study of them may lend inset to proto-indo-european languages, but only if they are available to a wider range of researchers. I am glad that I got this first insight into the world of Dialectology, and the talk only affirmed me of my wish to study dialects further.
I was fortunate that, during a particularly long day, the Russian club’s bake sale met my desperate need for a sugar boost. They had all sorts of tarts and sweets, but what particularly caught my eye were the rose-shaped apple tarts, inspired by Russian apple taschen. I pointed out to the student behind the counter that taschen was used to describe a similar desert in German, and asked if he knew whether the word made it into German from the Russian or vice versa. Neither of us were sure, nor could we find German or Russian etymology resources in English. Regardless, this query led us to a very interesting discussion regarding cognates and loanwords, and the difficulty they cause for language learners. Unfortunately, it had to be cut short by my need to get to class, but I left the conversation happy and with sticky fingers, thanks to the honey coated rose tarts. They were delicious, but I ate them before I remembered to take a picture. The above picture, as a result, is from the glorious troves of the internet.
I attended the first international bazaar last year, which was tucked away in one of the union courtyards. This year, it was set up on the South Oval, where the increased foot traffic brought it a lot more visitors. There was a lot of food and goodies this year, which was fabulous. I picked up some Argentinean candy, which was delicious. I also picked up a snazzy IAC Imagine t-shirt. I believe it features the same design from the festival last year. There was also lots of music, live acts, and face painting. I think this will definitely become a yearly tradition for me, as long as I am campus.
I have a bunch, so I’m just going to make a list. It’s crazy that I am at the end of my first year already, but here we are. Here’s some of what I learned along the way:
- You’ll want to try everything, but don’t get overwhelmed. It’s good to have a night to yourself every now and then
- That being said – don’t lock yourself in your room. Get out there – you never know what’s going on around campus.
- Don’t be afraid to say hi, or ask to join in. I met all of my friends playing board games in Walker lobby.
- Check your email often – it’s a good way to stay up to date on things going on about campus
- Remember to take care of yourself – this is the first time you’re on your own, probably. Make sure you eat and stay hydrated.
- Find a good study spot. There are a ton of places on campus, each with its own environment. I learned pretty early on no work will get done for me in the union, because I usually ended up talking to someone or getting pulled into some activity.
Some of the best conversations I’ve had have happened while traveling. Often, it begins with me hearing an unfamiliar language or accent and asking “Excuse me, but I’m a linguistics major, and I was wondering where you are from?” People are often more than willing to talk about there history of where they’ve lived and what language(s) they speak. Often the conversations diverge from language to culture, or any other number of topics. People have a lot to offer, but our society is so focused on shutting strangers out. I encourage people to engage others in conversations while traveling; you never know what you might discover.
My last event of the year was the Eve of Nations. It happened to fall during the weekend my mother was visiting, so the two of us went together. The dinner was great, and all the events were really cool. It’s really great that all the organizations get to show off their skills and talents. I hope I get to go again next year, and maybe even be involved next year with some of the groups.
I completed Understanding the Global Community this spring, and it was one of my favorite classes. I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching style, having three professors of different specialties each teaching their own perspective of the world. It was very successful in giving a complete understanding of the very complex issue of the global community. I hope to have more classes taught in this style.
My major is linguistics, one I have been intent on pursuing for a while now. I feel this is a major that pairs well with travel, though not one that most people realize does so. As the science of language, there is no better way to study language than to be immersed in the language. I plan to use one of my trips to study linguistics in Edinburgh, which has one of the best linguistics programs in the world. Some may say that makes no sense, as it is in the UK, and they speak English, don’t they? However, few may realize that the UK may be one of the best places in the world to study languages that are not widely spoken. The languages that I am referring to in particular are those in the Celtic family – Welsh, Irish, Breton, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish, and Manx. These have roots in some of the oldest languages in the world, and are therefore awesome to study when studying the development of language. On the whole, I am super excited to go to Edinburgh.