Before Vincent Chanethom G '06 came to Syracuse University, he studied English literature and civilization in his native France. While completing a master's degree, he also taught French as a foreign language at a private language institute. That led to his secret aspiration: to become a linguist. At Syracuse, he earned a master's degree in linguistics, and later earned a PhD in linguistics from New York University. He spent the last four years as a French lecturer at Princeton University and this fall will join George Mason University in Virginia as an assistant professor.
Chanethom speaks English, French, Laotian, Thai, and German. He has fond memories of working as a teaching assistant in Syracuse's French program and socializing in the graduate student lounge. "Syracuse University was for me not only a place where I developed academically, but also a place where I forged lifelong friendships," he says.
As Chanethom begins a new chapter, he shared his memories about life at Syracuse.
What was your favorite thing about attending Syracuse University?
I enjoyed the tremendous support I received from both faculty members and staff in my program, as well as from other students. I particularly enjoyed being part of university-sponsored social groups on campus, which were inclusive to all and made me feel welcome. They provided me with a nurturing environment where I was able to grow not only as an academic, but also as a person.
Is there a member of the faculty that had a significant influence on your career?
Jaklin Kornfilt, Anthony Lewis, Marie Louise Edwards, and Arsalan Kahnemuyipour have been particularly instrumental in my training as a future scholar. I owe them a wealth of gratitude for helping me achieve my professional goals.
What’s the best way to spend free time as a SU student?
Most of my free time was spent with friends, Americans and from around the world, with whom I enjoyed sharing our common interests, as well as our diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
What are some off-campus activities you enjoyed?
I liked traveling and discovering the areas surrounding Syracuse, such as The Finger Lakes, Ithaca, and Niagara Falls.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I became quite a food lover and have been trying new restaurants on a regular basis in order to discover as many different cuisines as possible.
What research are you working on?
I am currently working on publishing my dissertation on the phonetic acquisition of French-English bilingual children, but have also been involved in a research project with colleagues at the University of Puerto Rico to examine the acquisition of French in formal classroom settings.
How did Syracuse University help you to achieve your goals and aspirations?
I acquired the necessary work habits and strategies to succeed in a graduate program, including time management, critical thinking, and tenacity.