Nancy Allen | LCIS | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Tower of babel

Nancy Allen

Nancy Allen, a major in Linguistics with minors and French and Latin, is a real lover of languages. 

“They’re just so cool, in a word, to learn, and so complicated, and once you get the rhythm and the formulas and you learn more vocabulary and you start speaking it gets easier and easier and your mind just flows with language.”

She learned Turkish before attending SIU, and will return to Turkey this summer.  But French is probably her favorite.  “It’s just so beautiful.  It’s just an interesting language.”

Nancy Allen

Her favorite thing about SIU is its people.  “The people are just awesome and outgoing.  They reach out and make sure that you’re doing really well.”  SIU’s international students are a particular bonus, as far as Nancy’s concerned.  “They are so excited to be here and learning English.  They know what they want and how to get it; they’re motivated.  It inspires me to learn more, too.”

She finds it tough to say what her favorite class at SIU was.  “Tough to say, either my first class with Dr. Taoka, or one of my French classes.   I will never forget my first Latin class, the ambience, the people, Dr. T just made it really fun to learn Latin.” 

And what good is Latin?  “I found that my communication skills have gotten better, especially my vocabulary; there are a lot of cognates in English derived from Latin. You can often figure out the meaning of a word through its roots.”

And studying other languages teaches you about your own.  “English is just funny.  There’s a cartoon I really like  The caption is: English takes other languages down a dark alley, robs them of their syntax and morphology, and takes their words for its own.  It’s just so true.  And the grammar of English is just so weird.” 

Here’s how she describes Carbondale.  “Carbondale is sort of little Chicago, but walking down the hallway I see so many different faces and unique cultures. Shawnee national forest is awesome to go to and hike.  If you like to hike and do outdoorsy stuff, it’s a great place to come.” 

Her advice for would-be students of languages and linguistics: “Travel as much you can. And read a lot, too. You won’t regret it.”