BYU graduate receives award for research

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    By Linn Rosaker

    C. Anton Rytting received scholarship money from the National Science Foundation for outstanding research and academic performance.

    Rytting, a BYU graduate in linguistics, recently received the NSF scholarship giving him guaranteed funding for his research project.

    “It frees me up to do my own research,” he said.

    According to a BYU news release, Rytting is one out of only eight people nationwide to receive a NSF scholarship in the field of linguistics.

    Rytting has always been fascinated with languages.

    “How the human brain can process languages and meaning of words so quickly really fascinates me,” he said.

    Serving a mission to Greece amplified this interest, he said.

    When applying for a NSF scholarship, applicants have to propose a project of what they plan to do if they get the scholarship, Rytting said.

    His study evolves around languages and how the human mind works in processing words, he said.

    “Depending on which syllable in a word is stressed helps people to understand the word faster,” Rytting said.

    English speakers can process the word ”castle” faster than the word ”guitar” because it is stressed on the first syllable instead of the second, he said.

    “I want to see if this holds true also in other languages,” he said.

    Rytting said part of his study is to try and understand how humans know where and how to break up a sentence into understandable words.

    Some people suggest that a good clue for where to start a new word is when you hear a stressed syllable, he said.

    “I don”t think we will ever understand the full glory of it, but we can get bits and pieces of it,” he said. “I am hoping that my research can tell me more of how it works.”

    Rytting is attending the graduate program at Ohio State University and said he always wanted to attend BYU for his undergraduate studies.

    “It is important to get an education in the context of what is really important,” he said.

    Deryle Lonsdale, assistant professor in Linguistics was Rytting”s mentor while attending BYU.

    “He is an excellent student,” Lonsdale said.

    Rytting was the president of the linguistics club at BYU and was always active in the field, Lonsdale said.

    Lonsdale helped Rytting with three of his projects and advised him on his honors thesis.

    Rytting took advantage of the great opportunity BYU offers for undergraduates to be part of research projects, he said.

    “It really helped him to excel and prepare for studies in graduate school,” Lonsdale said.

    According to a BYU news release five other BYU students were also offered NSF scholarships; Steven K. Charles from Eichberg, Switzerland, who will be studying medical engineering at Harvard/MIT; Jenny Cutler from Bountiful, Davis County, who will study mechanical engineering at BYU; Daniel S. Ericksen from Salt Lake City, who will be studying bioengineering at MIT; Jason M. Bodily from Central Point, Oregon, Who will study microbiology at Penn State University and Christian B. Hansen from Salem, Utah County, who is studying economics at BYU.

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