Welcome from the Dean


Laura E. Lyons, LLL Dean

Laura E. Lyons, LLL Dean

“The power of the word” has been the unofficial motto of this college for some time. I am proud to be a Dean of a college in which language is at the very core of the work we do. We study linguistic structures, document and preserve languages on the verge of extinction, teach people how to express themselves in different languages, and train other people how to teach those people to speak and write in languages other than their own. We analyze the creative manifestations of languages in genres as diverse as science fiction, fairy tales, and spoken word poetry, and we investigate the rhetorical force of language in everyday settings and political arenas. Through all of this work and together with our students, we define, resist, and extend the limits of the languages we use. Our efforts to understand the complexity of language and its centrality to our lives is both challenging and exciting because languages evolve across time and are in the process of changing even as we use them. For us, then, language is as wondrous and mysterious as any virus, or volcano, or star.

We invite you to explore the 25 degrees and many certificate programs, at the undergraduate and graduate-levels, offered across our 6 departments and supported by 13 related centers housed in LLL. Consider learning one of the 25 different Asian, European and Indo-Pacific languages regularly taught in the college. We also hope that you might join us at one or more of the many lectures, symposia, conferences, and literary readings that the college and departments sponsor each semester.

If you are a former student of the college, we encourage you to be in touch with us, to let us know the ways that the study of language has shaped your life.

Ultimately, studying language is not just an end in itself, rather the “power of the word” comes from its ability to cross boundaries and to transform our lives, individually and collectively, for the better. Our college strives to rise to Brazilian thinker, Hélder Câmara’s challenge: “Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, its rhythm. But try to march together with people of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world.”