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I started studying Arabic at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in 2003. A few years later I continued the study of Arabic at U.C. Berkeley where I obtained a B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures in 2009. More importantly, it was during this time period I discovered that I was more drawn towards the field of Linguistics. Hence, I applied to the Arabic Studies program (with a concentration in linguistics) here at UT and to my surprise I was accepted in 2010! After my first year of graduate study, I was fortunate enough to recieve a Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) fellowship from 2011-2012. Not only did I use this opportunity to develop my Arabic proficiency, but I also did some field research on upper Egyptian Arabic dialects.
As for my current project, I am writing my M.A. thesis under the supervision of Dr. Brustad and Dr. Meyers (a phonologist in the Linguistics department). It is titled: Raḥla Lughawīya fī il-Lahajāt il-Ṣa‘īdīya: A Phonological Approach to Language Contact in Upper Egypt. The goal of my thesis at this point is to describe certain phonetic and phonological features in the sampled dialects as well as analyzing some of the effects of surrounding language communities on these dialects. That is the plan so far, but it could change as I get further into my research.
Concerning my future plans, I intend on sticking it out for the PhD. So, at this point I plan on continuing future research on Ṣa‘īdī Arabic. I am not yet sure what specific addition I would like to make to the topic, but I tend to speculate back and forth as to what exactly I want to do. With that said, I am pretty excited about this topic's potential and this is where I am so far in my academic career.