Charlie Farrington '08
Q. When did you graduate, and what is your position now?
A. I graduated in May 2008 with a Literature concentration and a minor in French.
In the fall of 2012 I started in the Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon in
Linguistics. My current research focuses on how the sounds of speech (vowels and
consonants) act over time for individuals, using data from a 20-year longitudinal study
of African American English in North Carolina. My publications and works in progress
are listed here.
Q. Which particular courses at Marist helped prepare you for this position?
A. The class that triggered my interest in sociolinguistics was Moira Fitzgibbons'
History of the English Language class. What made HEL interesting to me was that
Dr. Fitzgibbons used Gullah (a creole language spoken on the Sea Islands of South
Carolina and Georgia) as a modern variety of English, to compare to older varieties of English. As we went through
phonology, morphology and syntax of each variety, I was really interested in how an English creole fit into the English
language continuum. The idea of studying specific aspects of language (particularly dialects of English) grew on me.
There isn't a linguistics concentration at Marist, so I decided to use the umbrella of literature to follow my interests.
It speaks a lot of the literature professors, who encouraged me to follow my interests in linguistics.
Q. What do you wish you had known as an undergraduate?
A. This is a hard one to think about because everything I did, taking classes to feel my way into a major, or an interest,
ultimately led me to the English Department. I think having the variety in classes is important for students who know
they want to be in the liberal arts, but not quite sure what specialization to focus on.
Q. What is your career goal?
A. Since I'm going to school for my doctorate, I plan to be a researcher and professor. Although I didn't plan it,
my recent work as a master's student at NC State and a researcher sets me up to continue to do research and aim
towards my dissertation.
Q. What is the most interesting thing about your position?
A. The most interesting thing about my current position is working with a group of world-class linguists, being able
to present at conferences, and write papers about subjects that I find absolutely fascinating. I'm excited to go to work
every day to do research and collaborate with colleagues.