The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Professor Lee to Fill Linguistics Vacancy

2 min read


In August 2011, the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication will welcome a new Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee.

Lee was hired to replace the late Christina Kakava, the professor of linguistics who passed away last year.

“We are glad Dr. Lee will bring our linguistics offerings back to full strength,” said Paul Fallon, associate professor of linguistics and spouse of Kakava.

The department sought out a professor with a background in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, Fallon went on to say.

They were looking for, “an outstanding teacher, as well as an engaging researcher,” Fallon said.

Lee was raised in Seoul, Korea and received her doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara in December 2010. She is currently an active professor there in the Department of Asian American Studies, according to her biographical webpage.

In her time at Santa Barbara, Lee spent time researching the Hollywood representations of Asian speech, ethnic labeling among young minorities in California and language ideologies.

She looks forward to bringing this knowledge and background to the Mary Washington community.

Lee will teach sociolinguistics courses, which will encompass a subfield of linguistics that examines the relationship between language and society, she said. Her area of expertise lies in sociocultural and anthropological linguistics, with a particular focus on race, ethnicity, and immigration.

Lee’s arrival on campus will enable the university to offer courses that have been previously unavailable in the department for the last several years, including Sociolinguistics and Anthropological Linguistics, Cross-cultural Communication, and Language and Gender.

“[Lee] is eager to come to Mary Washington, and I’m sure students will find her a smart, engaging and dynamic professor,” Fallon said.

Debby Chang, a senior, will be taking sociolinguistics with Lee during her last semester this coming fall. Chang had the opportunity to meet Lee when she visited the campus earlier in the year and said Lee “seems like she has some interesting topics planned out for the class.”

According to Lee, she looks forward to her transition to Mary Washington where she will have a sense of community and enjoy the close-knit feel to the campus.

She values, “having meaningful interactions with individual students” and is very excited to teach at UMW.