The 2023 Lisa Sansoucy Language Scholar Award was awarded to Kevin Kwong, a Ph.D. student in Linguistics who has studied multiple languages as part of the Shared Course Initiative (SCI). The award is named in memory of our friend and colleague Lisa Sansoucy, who passed away in December of 2021. It recognizes a student who excels in learning a less commonly taught language as part of the SCI and who is passionate about language and culture.
Kevin's passion for languages started early on. He grew up as a bilingual speaker of Cantonese and English, learned French in high school and college, and has taught French here at Cornell. His language journey includes many different languages, as he describes it himself, "an attempt to learn varying languages to varying degrees of proficiency," including Hungarian, Finnish, Swedish, and Khmer as part of the SCI, and also German, Modern Hebrew, and Turkish. He notes, "Hungarian is the SCI language that has most influenced my interests as a graduate student in linguistics specializing in syntax and morphology, because of its extensive inventory of cases, flexibility in word order, and agreement between verbs and both subjects and objects. I actually began studying Hungarian language and linguistics as an undergraduate at Columbia with Carol Rounds, and the SCI has enabled me to continue taking her courses after coming to Cornell. To support my research, I have also studied Finnish (Hungarian’s distant relative within the Uralic family) and Swedish (Finland’s other official language). Furthermore, I have explored Khmer, since I have a concurrent interest in analytic (or less inflected) languages that are typologically very different from synthetic (or highly inflected) languages such as Hungarian and Finnish."
Kevin just finished the sixth year of his Ph.D. program and will spend the next year completing his dissertation on cross-clausal phenomena in case and agreement in Hungarian and Kashmiri.
Kevin remembers Lisa's kindness and support in helping him find a home at Cornell in the Language Resource Center. "It is a special honor to receive this award in memory of Lisa. I am grateful for the people and perspectives that the SCI has introduced me to, constantly delivering surprises both inside and outside the classroom."
Congratulations to Kevin!
If you are interested in contributing to this award, you can donate here: