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ODE to John R. Rickford
WithChristine Théberge Rafal
Pages 1

My family knew little about college, so when an acceptance letter came from the college my dad’s boss had suggested, of course that’s where I went—Stanford University. Thinking I would major in math, I signed up for an Introduction to Linguistics course only to fulfill a distribution requirement. John R. Rickford was the professor and I would learn early on that he has quite a way with sentences. Some of John’s sentences profoundly affected my life, starting with one on my midterm: ‘Probably the best exam I have ever read.’ I changed my major to linguistics and asked Professor Rickford to be my advisor.