When she’s not teaching English in Russia or teaching her dog to communicate using buttons, you can find Dr. Miriam Whiting teaching courses on language policy & planning, editing, and discourse analysis here at the BYU Department of Linguistics.
For two years, Dr. Whiting has been an adjunct faculty member in the department, and this year she moved into the JFSB as a full-time, one-year visiting professor. She earned her PhD in Slavic Linguistics from the Ohio State University, and recently her areas of research interest have include language & identity and language & accessibility. She recently finished an article analyzing pro-natalist discourse in Russian-language women’s TV melodramas, and she is passionate about efforts to help minority or marginalized languages achieve more recognition and resources in fields as diverse as technology, education, and publishing.
Dr. Whiting has taught various courses in linguistics and editing, but she has a soft spot in her heart for LING 110, an introductory linguistics course that counts as a GE requirement for students who may not go on to further study in linguistics. She hopes that anyone who enrolls in one of her courses comes out of it with more patience and empathy for others. “Speaking another language is spectacular!” she says. “We’re just trying to communicate, and we don’t always do it well.” Both her teaching and research aims to build understanding and stop people from using the way others talk to think badly about them, no matter the language. “Being bilingual is great, but even if we’re only speaking English, we can still speak and use it in a way that helps us be more Christlike.”
Dr. Whiting is currently working with student research assistants to perform a linguistic landscape study of the Latin letters V and Z in Russian spaces and Ukrainian responses to that propaganda. If you speak Russian or Ukrainian and are interested in participating, please reach out to her!