Hello all, my name is Gabe Field. Along with my research mentor Dr. Jeff Aziz of the English Literature Department, I’m conducting research concerning constructed languages in speculative fiction. A constructed language is any language devised deliberately rather than arising naturally: think Esperanto or Dothraki from Game of Thrones. I’m interested in this research due to the unique window constructed language, and especially constructed language within fiction, provides in examining the philosophical and political implications of language at a granular level. Imagine that you are tasked with designing a language from the ground up: the phonology, vocabulary, and grammar of a new language are yours to engineer. You would immediately face a multitude of deliberate choices influenced by your goals for the language.
Likewise, examining any one constructed language offers insight into the worldview of its creator. Fictional constructed languages offer complete freedom to explore the possibilities of language as a tool for social reform or political reform. Consider, here, the famous example of ‘Newspeak’ from Orwell’s 1984, a quasi-constructed language intended to limit political dissent. The idea that the language one speaks shapes thought is oft-discussed and controversial, even within the body of Orwell’s work. My work will center on the intricate history of constructed languages as they pertain to the recent history of philosophy of language.
My professional goals in the short term include further exploration of the topic of constructed languages, hopefully towards a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Pitt. In the long term, I hope to eventually obtain my teaching certification and work in secondary education. I believe the Brackenridge will give me an opportunity to research and write about a topic that interests me and will expand my grasp of literature, philosophy, and linguistics. It could also help me figure out if I have any interest in postgraduate work, and, if so, what I might be interested in studying. I also look forward to working within the Brackenridge community to improve my skills in communicating my research and generally learning more about academic research as a whole.
I’ve attached a picture of myself concentrating deeply on a relatively simple task I find challenging, which is one of my hobbies. I am double majoring in Philosophy and English Literature. A unique fun fact about me is that I used to be able to do a cartwheel, have since forgotten, and am now actively attempting to re-teach myself.