LOLS Club Makes Languages Heard

What better place to dissect how humans speak than a campus with incredible linguistic diversity?

League of Linguistics Students at NYU is an undergraduate linguistics student organization. (via Twitter)

Though LOLS may be the most popular example of shorthand text lingo, the acronym stands for something else at NYU: League of Linguists Students.

The club, open to anyone in the NYU community, holds weekly linguistic discussions, allowing its members to learn about linguistics in a relaxed environment that can be hard to find in a typical class setting.

“You don’t have to be linguistics majors or anything,” LOLS treasurer and CAS sophomore Nella Dacius said. “We basically cover topics in linguistics that are interesting and hone people’s skills and allow them to interact more with linguistics as a subject.”

Hosted every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in 10 Washington Place, meetings usually consist of executive board members giving presentations. Occasionally, a professor from the linguistics department comes in as a guest speaker.

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Dacius reflected on how her passion for linguistics first came about.

“My freshman year in high school I took a Spanish class, and I remember one day we had this discussion in class of certain expressions in Spanish and what they mean, and I just remember becoming so enamored right away,” Dacius said. “I went home to look up other expressions in other languages and I came across linguistics […] from that moment on, I knew I wanted to do something regarding language.”

One of Dacius’ primary topics of discussion in LOLS meetings is her mother tongue, Haitian Creole, spoken by over 7 million people worldwide.

“Not a lot of people know about Haitian Creole,” Dacius said. “Whenever I get the opportunity to talk about its features, I think it’s really interesting to share it with people who don’t know about it.”

Just like Dacius, Club President and Tandon sophomore Xinyu Zhou discovered his love of linguistics in high school.

At first I wanted to understand German phonology when I started to learn German in high school,” Zhou said. “Afterwards, I also wanted to use my linguistics knowledge to preserve endangered languages.”

You don’t need high school experience to join — the goal of LOLS is to bring students together and create space for all those interested in the spoken word.

“We just want to help all linguistics students share their ideas with each other and let others know how awesome linguistics is,” Zhou said.

Zhou’s passion for the club also makes him worry about its future. Linguistics is not a popular subject, and while around 400 students are part of the club’s Facebook group, LOLS is not very well-known on campus.

“Our club can easily die out if we don’t attract more members,” Zhou said. “I now have two years before graduation. Within these two years, I [hope] I can find several new members every semester.”

Email Bella Gil at [email protected]

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