Convocation, Profile

June 11, 2020

A love of French leads to one BA graduate’s fascination with Linguistics

Corliss Ng has always had a love for languages. When she started at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Corliss chose to focus on that interest and pursue a major in the Department of French. Linguistics was not a field that she knew much about, but since she knew it was related to language, Corliss decided to take Linguistics 100 – Communication and Language as an elective. After taking a few Linguistics courses, Corliss was fascinated. She quickly decided to declare a minor in Linguistics.

Corliss’s interest in languages and Linguistics continued throughout her time as a French major. About halfway through her degree, Corliss realized that her love of French really stemmed from her appreciation for the study of languages more broadly and decided to change her major to Linguistics.

“I believe I took every lower level Linguistics course that was offered,” says Corliss. “Taking Linguistics 220 – Introduction to Linguistics with Dr. Trude Heift was also the tipping point that helped me commit to [the decision to change majors].”

This Spring, Corliss is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with distinction majoring in Linguistics with Certificates in the Linguistics of Speech Science, Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Linguistics, and French Language Proficiency. Corliss is also being recognized by the Department of Linguistics for her outstanding academic achievement.

The Certificate in TESL Linguistics proved to be a highlight for Corliss who now hopes to apply for the TESL Canada Professional Certificate in addition to pursuing a variety of other possible career options. Completing the 30-hour practicum as part of Linguistics 363 - Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults, Corliss gained confidence in teaching and discovered a new possible career path.

“Listening to the students’ stories of how impactful the ESL classes were on their daily lives was very meaningful,” says Corliss. “I hope to help newcomers to Canada through teaching ESL.”


  • LING 350: First Language Acquisition
    The topic of this course is one that I am most interested in. The final project involved a hands-on approach to learning some famous studies and experiments by doing them with young children at Science World.
  • LING 363: Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults
  • LING 415: Neurolinguistics
    I gained more from this class that I had expected. It enhanced by critical thinking and presentation skills. By the end of the course, I was also able to have much more meaningful discussions.


Finding the field that I was interested in and passionate about was definitely my key to success. Loving what you are learning is so important because it gives you motivation and makes going to class and the learning process enjoyable.

One piece of advice that I wish I followed is don’t be afraid to take your time and take the opportunities that you are given. It seems that lots of people (myself included) are so focused on finishing their degree in four years, and as a result we may end up missing out on things. As obvious as it may seem, being punctual, organized, and engaged is very important.

Spring 2020 Featured Graduates

This spring convocation, the Department of Linguistics is recognizing a small group of graduating students for their accomplishments in the department.