Vinny Ong '22 Attends Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages
A number of Bryn Mawr College students applied for and received funding to conduct research projects and study with a global concentration this spring/summer through the Global Bryn Mawr Student Fellowship. Those students were asked to share their experiences and how they were affected by the COVID-19 situation through words and images.
Name: Vinny Ong
Class Year: 2022
Program: Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages
Location: Online via Zoom (due to COVID-19)
Q. What drew you to apply for this opportunity?
A. Working towards preservation for endangered languages is one of the things that’s most important to me, so it has always been an honor to be a part of these projects. In the previous year, I had worked on a Talking Dictionary project for the Living Tongues. The Talking Dictionary is meant to be used as an educational and referential resource for an indigenous community (which, for discretionary purposes, will not be listed). I had a very fulfilling experience collaborating with team members at the organization, so I decided to come back again this past summer.
Q. What did you do at the Institute?
A. My main task was working on Praat annotations for Sora, a south Munda language of the Austroasiatic language of the Sora people. Praat is a sound editing and annotating software that is often used for linguistic analysis. I was provided with long field tapes of speakers from the community reciting hundreds of words in the language. Within Praat, I broke down each word into its individual phonetic components and looked for any variations of speech production.
Q. What was your favorite part of this experience?
A. My favorite part of this journey was the process of getting over the learning curve and finding a good work momentum. When I first started out, I was concerned that I wasn’t cut out for the job or that I was incompetent at linguistics, but I persevered through it and once I figured out how to complete a couple of annotations properly, I was able to breeze through the tapes with ease.
Q. What advice do you have for students interested in this experience?
A. My biggest advice to future students that wish to participate in internships, summer or otherwise, is to find a way to push through the feeling of incompetency or imposter syndrome. You were selected for a reason because you are fully competent, but also keep in mind that it’s always okay, and even encouraged, to reach out when needed.