Harvey Wang

2021 - 2022

Advisor: Guillermo Solano-Flores

Class of 2022

While Harvey was born and raised outside of Boston, he lived the first four years of his life in Shanghai, China. There, he acquired his first language: Shanghainese, a regional variety of Chinese. This experience would later develop into an interest in linguistics and linguistic diversity, especially regarding regional, minority, and indigenous languages. He graduated from UCLA in 2020, where he double majored in Physics and Linguistics. Studying at UCLA gave him the opportunity to learn Nahuatl and Quechua. And he used his free time learning other languages, like Kiche and Garifuna, even going as far as ordering Guarani textbooks from Paraguay. Living in Los Angeles brought him into contact with linguists and native speakers of Oaxacan languages. As a result, he briefly worked on documentation projects of understudied Mixtec and Zapotec varieties.

These experiences made him appreciate the resilience of these speakers and what they did to maintain their languages. He also realized how we take larger languages for granted, the unfairness of many (discriminatory) language policies and societal attitudes, and the importance of public services in indigenous languages. At Stanford, Harvey hopes to research language revitalization and maintenance among indigenous communities and their implications to those outside of them. He is interested in how current languages policies and grassroots movements affect the usage of such languages and how to create better, more informed policies.

In his free time, Harvey enjoys learning languages (of course), photography, exploring the area around him, and trying to motivate himself to work out.