Franklin S. Harris Family History Project

I’m currently taking Linguistics 110, a general education linguistics course, from Dr. Cynthia Hallen, a professor in the linguistics department at Brigham Young University. Dr. Hallen was one of my dad’s favorite professors when he was a linguistics major at BYU in the ’90s, so I was really excited to take her class, and it has definitely been a ride.

On the first day of class Dr. Hallen told us that we would not have any tests in this class, just a 40-hour family history project, and a final project. I have to admit, I was taken aback by this. A family history project in a linguistics class? I didn’t see the connection. But I just decided to be happy, since this project did mean that I didn’t have to memorize any trivial facts or information for tests in this class and could just try to learn as much as I could.

The project seemed overly difficult at first, but after many hours of agonizing and crying on the phone to my mom, I had a plan in place, and I finally started to enjoy the process of learning more about my ancestor that I chose to write about, Franklin S Harris.

The plan was relatively simple: Gather information about Franklin S Harris, compile it into a short children’s biography, illustrate it, and then translate it into Farsi and Arabic.

And that’s what I did, more or less. I don’t speak Farsi, so I had my brother Phineas, who’s on a mission speaking Farsi, translate it into Farsi. I am also not nearly fluent in Arabic, so I had my friend Dalton Bradford help me extensively with that translation as well.

It may seem strange that I decided on this as my medium for this project, but I promise there’s a reason behind it. I wanted to write something unique and be able to incorporate my love of painting into the project somehow, and Franklin S Harris traveled extensively in his life, so he spoke some Farsi, and he spent a lot of time in the Middle East, although he never learned any Arabic to my knowledge.