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Masters in Linguistics - Doing a Literature/Language Degree. Chances?

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    Hi all,

    First time posting in this section so sorry if I'm in the wrong spot.
    I'm coming to the end of my second year doing English Literature and Language at UCL. I'm having a great time but the course is a little literature heavy for my liking.
    I really love language modules and have tried my hardest to take as many of these as I possibly can. (this year I've taken History of the English Language and next year I'm doing to do Modern English Language, Literary Linguistics and Commentary and Analysis).

    I'm thinking of applying for an MA on graduation in Linguistics (it's what really interests me). I'm attracted to both the theoretical and applied side (although in my eyes applied has the edge slightly) and I've been to a couple of open days.
    I want to apply for Cardiff's Forensic Linguistics Course, UCL's Forensic Linguistics and possibly Cambridge's Theoretical & Applied Linguistics MPhil.
    At Cardiff, the course convenor indicated that most of their applicants have an English Language/Linguistics background.

    I was wondering if anybody has any experience of switching from a mainly Literature to Linguistics/Language discipline and whether you can recommend any materials I can have a look at.

    Thanks
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    I came from a literature and history background in high school, and now at university i'm doing a double major in german and applied linguistics.
    Basically, i find that most people are really quite interested in applied linguistics when they start learning, as its so damn interesting! what most people seem to find difficult is the heavily applied stuff, such as phonetics, syntax and morphology.
    Phonetics at most universities is a HARDCORE course, even at the undergrad level, as there's so much theory, but you have to combine it with so much practical knowledge. For example, the first things we learnt about were the places in the vocal tract, then we learnt about what sounds are produced in the various places, and the constraints and variations that can be placed on these sounds. Then moving on to acoustic phonetics, then back on to practical.
    In order to do well at many of these subjects within the applied linguistics field, you need to be willing to put in many hours of not just class and reading and research, but also simply honing your skills. You will find yourself second guessing much of the work you do, as much of it is highly subjective, yet there is still arguable a right/wrong answer.
    In short, you should try and get some background info before you throw yourself into a discipline such as applied linguistics. It's not hard, per se, but requires many man hours before you start being GOOD at the discipline.
    Good luck!
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    (Original post by aussieberliner)
    I came from a literature and history background in high school, and now at university i'm doing a double major in german and applied linguistics.
    Basically, i find that most people are really quite interested in applied linguistics when they start learning, as its so damn interesting! what most people seem to find difficult is the heavily applied stuff, such as phonetics, syntax and morphology.
    Phonetics at most universities is a HARDCORE course, even at the undergrad level, as there's so much theory, but you have to combine it with so much practical knowledge. For example, the first things we learnt about were the places in the vocal tract, then we learnt about what sounds are produced in the various places, and the constraints and variations that can be placed on these sounds. Then moving on to acoustic phonetics, then back on to practical.
    In order to do well at many of these subjects within the applied linguistics field, you need to be willing to put in many hours of not just class and reading and research, but also simply honing your skills. You will find yourself second guessing much of the work you do, as much of it is highly subjective, yet there is still arguable a right/wrong answer.
    In short, you should try and get some background info before you throw yourself into a discipline such as applied linguistics. It's not hard, per se, but requires many man hours before you start being GOOD at the discipline.
    Good luck!
    Thanks this is really helpful!
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    I've heard from a number of sources that the MPhil Theortical/Applied Linguistics courses at Cambridge are best avoided and that students are generally more satisfied with the teaching quality and overall student experience in places like Edinburgh, UCL and Oxford - which apparently have a lot more to offer on the subject .... What do others think?
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    (Original post by Mac3)
    I've heard from a number of sources that the MPhil Theortical/Applied Linguistics courses at Cambridge are best avoided and that students are generally more satisfied with the teaching quality and overall student experience in places like Edinburgh, UCL and Oxford - which apparently have a lot more to offer on the subject .... What do others think?
    That's very interesting actually - which sources are these?
    I'd rather not go as far north as Edinburgh but UCL and Oxford are definitely worth considering if my grades are good enough!
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    (Original post by sundogs)
    That's very interesting actually - which sources are these?
    I'd rather not go as far north as Edinburgh but UCL and Oxford are definitely worth considering if my grades are good enough!

    I heard that first hand from some very reliable sources ie professors as well as students who have actually been to all three places. I went for a number of interviews myself and came away with similar feelings. I would place UCL high on the list, based on location, facilities and (not least!) the approachability of the staff. The latest (2008) RAE (Research Assessment Rankings) which takes place every five years, rates places like Edinburgh, York, Queen Mary and UCL pretty highly too...
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...08-linguistics
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    (Original post by sundogs)
    Hi all,

    First time posting in this section so sorry if I'm in the wrong spot.
    I'm coming to the end of my second year doing English Literature and Language at UCL. I'm having a great time but the course is a little literature heavy for my liking.
    I really love language modules and have tried my hardest to take as many of these as I possibly can. (this year I've taken History of the English Language and next year I'm doing to do Modern English Language, Literary Linguistics and Commentary and Analysis).

    I'm thinking of applying for an MA on graduation in Linguistics (it's what really interests me). I'm attracted to both the theoretical and applied side (although in my eyes applied has the edge slightly) and I've been to a couple of open days.
    I want to apply for Cardiff's Forensic Linguistics Course, UCL's Forensic Linguistics and possibly Cambridge's Theoretical & Applied Linguistics MPhil.
    At Cardiff, the course convenor indicated that most of their applicants have an English Language/Linguistics background.

    I was wondering if anybody has any experience of switching from a mainly Literature to Linguistics/Language discipline and whether you can recommend any materials I can have a look at.

    Thanks
    OP if you enjoy linguistics, but would prefer to do something less technical than pure 'hardcore phonetics/phonology' and syntax etc, have you considered doing the English Linguistics MA course at UCL (rather than theoretical linguistics), or one of the many Sociolinguistics or Psycholinguistics options at places such as York, Edinburgh or Queen Mary?
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    (Original post by sundogs)
    Hi all,

    First time posting in this section so sorry if I'm in the wrong spot.
    I'm coming to the end of my second year doing English Literature and Language at UCL. I'm having a great time but the course is a little literature heavy for my liking.
    I really love language modules and have tried my hardest to take as many of these as I possibly can. (this year I've taken History of the English Language and next year I'm doing to do Modern English Language, Literary Linguistics and Commentary and Analysis).

    I'm thinking of applying for an MA on graduation in Linguistics (it's what really interests me). I'm attracted to both the theoretical and applied side (although in my eyes applied has the edge slightly) and I've been to a couple of open days.
    I want to apply for Cardiff's Forensic Linguistics Course, UCL's Forensic Linguistics and possibly Cambridge's Theoretical & Applied Linguistics MPhil.
    At Cardiff, the course convenor indicated that most of their applicants have an English Language/Linguistics background.

    I was wondering if anybody has any experience of switching from a mainly Literature to Linguistics/Language discipline and whether you can recommend any materials I can have a look at.

    Thanks
    I come from a literature background, but I have an interest in applied linguistics so that is why I know a little about different departments. (I am starting to do some research into language testing in prisons at the moment). Cambridge and Oxford have never really stood out to me. The best linguistics departments as far as I am concerned - in no particular order - are Edinburgh, Newcastle, Lancaster and UCL.
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    (Original post by Mac3)
    OP if you enjoy linguistics, but would prefer to do something less technical than pure 'hardcore phonetics/phonology' and syntax etc, have you considered doing the English Linguistics MA course at UCL (rather than theoretical linguistics), or one of the many Sociolinguistics or Psycholinguistics options at places such as York, Edinburgh or Queen Mary?
    I'm thinking more and more about the English Linguistics MA at UCL (especially as its taught in my home department!)

    The English Language MA at Oxford has now really appealed to me - although i'm a bit concerned that it's a brand new course - always the guinea pig! Thanks for the suggestions.
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    Oxford would certainly look good on a CV - however, having been a guinea pig once too often myself, I would seriously consider whether or not it would be worth the risk! UCL's linguistics department has an outstanding reputation, particularly in theoretical linguistics. I think Oxford is strong on sociolinguistics, and they do have some good lecturers, from what I've been told - but I've not actually met anyone who's done linguistics at Oxford... UCL seems to be the popular choice and the feedback I've had from postgrad students has always been positive
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    (Original post by Mac3)
    Oxford would certainly look good on a CV - however, having been a guinea pig once too often myself, I would seriously consider whether or not it would be worth the risk! UCL's linguistics department has an outstanding reputation, particularly in theoretical linguistics. I think Oxford is strong on sociolinguistics, and they do have some good lecturers, from what I've been told - but I've not actually met anyone who's done linguistics at Oxford... UCL seems to be the popular choice and the feedback I've had from postgrad students has always been positive
    Thanks for your advice.
    The English Linguistics degree is taught in the English department and not the linguistics one. I wonder if this will be as well respected.


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    I'm currently doing MA Language Studies at Lancaster. It's a really good course as there's just one compulsory module (Research Methods) and the rest we can choose what interests us. I considered other unis e.g. Edinburgh, York, but was always more interested in the optional, rather than compulsory modules.

    The Phonetics module would perhaps be a little difficult without prior knowledge - but he was happy to adjust if the content was too difficult/easy for us. A lot of my other modules though haven't started off too advanced. Although quite a few of us have some experience in Linguistics there are also people on my course who didn't do English Language/Linguistics at undergrad.

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