Submitted by Ellwood Wiggins on March 27, 2014 - 12:50pm
Alex writes: "I am truly grateful for the wonderful education I received at UW German! I am very much enjoying my time here at Berkeley. The weather is, as one would imagine, very nice, but perhaps more importantly, I feel that the preparation I received as an undergraduate in UW's German department has put me in a position to readily engage with and thrive in the active intellectual environment here.
I am having a great time here, and am well into my second semester. I've taken various graduate classes in the German department, such as one on the History of the German language, another focusing on the Germanic languages of the North Sea area, and am currently taking a class that investigates various topics and approaches to German morphology. I've also been able to explore the broad course offerings of other departments; last semester I took a class in Sanskrit to complement my interests in Indo-European linguistics, and this semester I am taking a class in the linguistics department on methods and approaches to historical linguistics.
In addition to my coursework, I've also been able to pursue more focused independent research. A few weeks ago the graduate students at the German department here organized a conference on linguistic varieties and variation, and I gave a talk on various theories of the emergence of umlaut in the development of Old High German into Middle High German, which was something I'd been researching on my own this past year. It was a very exciting and enriching experience for me not only to present my work to other scholars and hear their feedback, but also simply to engage in the process of intellectual exchange that takes place at conferences.
What I'm loving about my time here in general so far is the chance to deeply explore very specific problems in linguistics of interest to me, and be guided and encouraged by professors in that endeavor, but still take a more active role in formulating my own ideas and potential contributions to the field. Next year I will begin teaching German, for which I am extraordinarily excited."