Eitan Price was keeping good company last summer.
The Lawrence University sophomore linguistics major from Carmel, Indiana, attended the Linguistics Society of America’s (LSA) Summer Institute, a program mostly attended by graduate students. It is described as an “intellectual summer camp” by its organizers, made to forward the study of linguistics by gathering the foremost professionals and students in linguistics studies.
“I got to see people who, through the really theoretical work with linguistics, have actually been able to make tangible impacts on the world,” Price said about his time at the institute, held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Taking part in the Summer Institute was an impressive commitment from Price, said Bob Williams, professor of education and head of Lawrence’s linguistics program. It’s unusual for a college sophomore to take that leap.
“This is a full month of short classes and lectures, and longer courses being offered by people in the field from all over,” he said. “Not only do you attend the lecture, but you hang out together, have meals together, and talk. There’s lots of that informal interaction that goes on that really builds the networks within the profession.”
The immersive summer experience has furthered Price’s enthusiasm for linguistics. He has many interests within the major, including computational linguistics and speech-language pathology, and he plans to attend graduate school after Lawrence.
“Right now, the goal is to be a professor of linguistics,” Price said. “It’s a very broad field, with a lot of different people doing a lot of different things.”
When Price arrived at Lawrence in 2022, he already knew he was interested in linguistics. Lawrence’s program is an interdisciplinary offering drawing from the fields of cognitive science, languages, philosophy, and more. Students explore the structures of language—sounds, words, and sentences—and how these express and evoke meaning; how people use language, how they learn new languages, and how language relates to culture and identity.
Explore the structures of language—sounds, words, and sentences—and how these express and evoke meaning.
After taking an Intro to Linguistics class during his first year, Price declared his major and immediately got involved in the program. He is a student representative of the linguistics program, helping to organize social and intellectual activities.
Williams said it “helps enormously” to have students such as Price helming the social events within the program.
“Whether it be clubs, or activities, or other kinds of events—you want those to be largely student-driven,” he said.
Since getting involved, Price has helped organize a linguistics tea, helped plan the department’s annual Björklunden trip in the spring, and put together an informative bulletin board in Main Hall. He is currently tutoring in linguistics and working toward setting up a site at Lawrence for the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO), a competition for high school students that Price himself participated in.
Alongside his academics, Price is also co-president of Etcetera, a student organization he helped found to put on “fun, silly, or niche events with the purpose of raising money for charity.”