Linguistics is the science of languages. Linguistic anthropology is how language intersects with culture. To linguistic anthropologist Dr. Sandhya K Narayanan, the field explores the question: “What does it mean to be a human person through the languages we speak?”  

Narayanan is a National Geographic Explorer and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Watch this video to learn more about her background, passion, and current work in linguistic anthropology.   

Born in Canada, Narayanan grew up in a community in Toronto where everyone spoke many different languages in Toronto. A lot of her own understanding of the world came from understanding and noticing the different ways people spoke and what they meant for them.  

She took a linguistic anthropology class in college and quickly decided she wanted to pursue this for her career.  

Her work has taken her to the Altiplano high plains of southern Peru around Lake Titicaca to study how indigenous languages are spoken. Her study examines food, dress, dance, songs, and legends.  

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