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"How to choose my language degree" Official Thread

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    Just a little thing
    If you think this thread needs to be improved, if you have any ideas or criticisms about it, don't hesitate to post or PM me, I'll be glad to make modifications or to help you if you need it. This is a collective thread aimed to help applicants or anyone who has questions about languages at university.
    And I apologise for any mistakes I could make, English is not my first language. :o:

    Well, I know that it can be hard to make a choice between the number of languages offered by various universities and it's very important that you choose the right one when you make your application. I decided to create this thread to help you with your choice, and to share tips, advice and opinions about languages. I hope this thread will help you and good luck with your application! :yep:

    Summary of the post
    • I - Which university

    • II - What sort of course

    • III - Which language
      • A - "Classic" languages

      • B - "New" languages

      • C - "Rare" languages


    I - Which university
    There are numerous universities in the UK offering language degrees and making a choice can be quite difficult due to the diversity of both universities and courses offered. Here is a list of the "main" universities if you consider applying for a language degree :


    You can choose your university according to the location, what it looks like, etc. Sometimes you won't have that much choice because of the language you want to study : only a few universities offer languages such as Aramaic, or maybe because you want a surprising combination you can't find at every university. Keep that in mind when you check the university websites to see if your dream degree is available there. Pro/cons lists are a useful tool to decide when you start to shortlist universities. Don't trust league tables, what really matters is what you want to study, then at wich university, don't be put off because you don't find your dream degree at Oxbridge, just have a look elsewhere ! For more informations about universities and degrees, have a look at the Universities and HE Colleges section, you will find advice from current students and applicants.

    II - What sort of course
    Each course is different, be it because of the amount of literature, linguistic, history or obviously because of the language. The course content is often one of the most decisive criteria when choosing a degree and I advise you to have a close look at it, so that you won't be disappointed by any of your modules when at university.

    Your interests may differ, so that you'll prefer to study either literature or history of if you abhor them, only linguistic. Every uni has its speciality and you can sometimes "create" your own degree, by choosing to study a language and its linguistics, by combining two or three languages (that may have nothing in common) or by combining a language and another subject such as Politics, Law or Business. You can also choose to study only one language, but most of the time, linguists go for at least two or another subject.

    • Single honour degree :
      If you choose to study only one language, then you will probably have a wide range of modules from literature to linguistic, including film studies sometimes. You will learn the language in great depth, but will also study the culture and the society of the country(ies) in which this language is spoken.


    • Joint honours - Major/minor degrees :
      Joint honours means that the degree is equally divided between two subjects, whereas major/minor degree will allow the student to study one subject more than the other one.


      • As said before, most language students choose to study two languages. Combinations are often different from a student to another even if we often find somes like French/German, French/Spanish, Italian/Spanish and so on. You can of course choose to study "rare" languages such as Hebrew, Russian or Korean, it's up to you ! Most of time, this kind of degree has one or several compulsory modules and smaller range of optional ones than the degree above, though you can choose to study only what interests you, so you can often avoid either literature or else if you're not fond of it. You can also study three or more languages at universities like Durham or Southampton, but each language will probably be studied in less depth than a one or two languages degree.



      • Finally, you can choose to study a language and to combine it with another subject you like, it all depends on the university. Half your degree will consist of modules about your language (a bit like a 2 language degree) and the rest will be about your other subject, be it Law, Psychology or else. This kind of degree allows you to study what you like and to keep learning a language you love, which is probably a good solution if you're opinion is divided in two options and that you have difficulty to choose which one you prefer.


    III – Which language
    Here is the most important part in the choice of your degree : which language to study ? Surely there are zillions of different languages on earth and you can’t study them all, so you have to make a (sometimes) difficult choice and this thread is here to help you.[/LIST]

    • You are certainly studying a language at A-Level and maybe you want to keep studying it at uni, so that is a good start. You can also –if you’re are studying another one or more language – carry it/them on at uni at A-Level level. Or you can choose to start one from scratch or « ab initio ». This is often the option chosen by curious students that want to experiment Learning a totally new language.


    • Anyway, you have to choose languages you love, whatever the reason. If you are motivated by how challenging the language can be, or because it is linked to your beliefs/heritage, then this can makes things easier for you. Don’t choose a language simply because it can be « useful », because there are probably sides of the language you won’t really like and it could put you off.


    • In this post are opinions from other students about languages they’re studying/they study/want to study or speak fluently as their first or second language. Don’t hesitate to post yours, I’ll add them to the list

      To find a course related to one or several of the languages listed above, have a look at the UCAS website.

      • A - "Classic" languages
        Languages often picked by students, and that are usually studied at college.
        - French
        - German
        - Spanish
        - Italian



      • B - "New" languages
        Languages in high demand nowadays due to international business and relations.
        - Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)
        - Japanese
        - Arabic
        - Russian



      • C - "Rare" languages
        Sometimes chosen by students, but often massively under subscribed and only offered at a few universities.
        - Middle Eastern languages (Persian, Turkish, Hebrew)
        - Scandinavian languages (Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Swedish and Danish)
        - Slavonic languages (Polish, Czech, Bulgarian)
        - Indian languages : Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil
        - Celtic languages (Gaelic, Welsh, Breton)
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    Help needed !
    This post need your help to be written and improved !

    V - Further education and careers

    Summary of the post
    • Further education

    • Careers

    • Further education
      • A - Masters

      • B - PhD

      • C – Further education abroad

    • Careers
      • A - Education

      • B – Interpreting/Translation

      • C – International Relations

      • D – Foreign Affairs & International organisation

      • E – Business and Economy

      • F – Internal politics, government and organisations
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    Help needed !
    This post need your help to be written and improved !

    IV - From application to graduation

    Summary of the post
    • A – Application

    • B – Ist year

    • C – 2nd/3rd year

    • D – The year abroad

    • E – 4th year and graduation

    • A – Application
      • Tips for the Personal Statement :

      • Tips for the interview:

      • Tips for results day:

    • B – Ist year
      • How is it:

      • Tips to succeed:

      • Non-academic life:

    • C – 2nd/3rd year
      • What changed since 1st year :

    • D – The year abroad
      • Its aim:

      • How to plan it :

      • How to budget it :

      • Why you shouldn't be scared :

      • How to make the most of it :

    • E – 4th year and graduation
      • What has changed :

      • How to deal with it :

      • Graduation:
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    You could mention major minor and joint honours, I remember that really confused me when I was choosing!
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    (Original post by splorgie)
    You could mention major minor and joint honours, I remember that really confused me when I was choosing!
    Major/minor are for Scottish unis, no ? About joint honours, I talked about it but forgot to mention the name :doh:, thanks for the reminder !

    *adds new stuff to the thread*

    Oh, btw, if there are any mistake, I apologise, English is not my first language and there are still things that need to be improved :o:
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    Nice thread, Marion! vraiment utile :p: *reserves post for suggestions*.
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    Major/minor are for Scottish unis, no ? About joint honours, I talked about it but forgot to mention the name :doh:, thanks for the reminder !

    *adds new stuff to the thread*

    Oh, btw, if there are any mistake, I apologise, English is not my first language and there are still things that need to be improved :o:
    Major-minor can be anywhere - it just means that the split between your subjects isn't 50-50 (usually if your course is something like "Luxembourghish with Uzbekhistan sign language", where the main part is Luxembourhish and the minor bit is sign language, as opposed to "Zulu and Line Dance Studies", where they're the same proportions).
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    (Original post by wes)
    Major-minor can be anywhere - it just means that the split between your subjects isn't 50-50 (usually if your course is something like "Luxembourghish with Uzbekhistan sign language", where the main part is Luxembourhish and the minor bit is sign language, as opposed to "Zulu and Line Dance Studies", where they're the same proportions).
    I've already checked on Google and changed that Will, but thanks
    I love your degree though :awesome:
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    I've already checked on Google and changed that Will, but thanks
    I love your degree though :awesome:
    It would certainly do away with rumourss of "soft" subjects and dumbing-down :yes:
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    I have removed this information until I receive an apology from the moderators of this site regarding my signature use. I shall not be including this information again nor do I give my permission to show it on this site under these terms and conditions, until my situation has been rectified. If anyone would like to see my review for studying Japanese at uni please send me a message, thank you.
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    Hi, I love this thread! If only I could have read it when applying to my uni. Can I just add (although I am extremely biased) that Salford Uni is underrated for languages? It's 10th in the country for linguistics, 15th for Italian and is one of the most accomodating unis for international students in the UK. It's grade offers tend to be lower so you might want to include it for a balance because most of the unis on the list are very prestigious and not everyone who wants to study languages will be getting As.

    Your English is excellent by the way

    P.S...their site for the School of Languages: http://www.languages.salford.ac.uk/
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    I added it, if you have any review about your languages you'd like to share, don't hesitate !
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    Thanks What do you mean by a review? I'd like to try and do one for Spanish. Do you mean a summary of the country, easy bits and hard bits of the language, etc...?
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    Yeah anything in fact, what you like, dislike, who it' could be "aimed" for, who'd like, etc.
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    Spanish...

    Why learn Spanish? Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world with around 400m speakers in Spain and Latin America, plus some states in North America. Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn. Much of its vocabulary is similar to English's, and written Spanish is almost completely phonetic: Look at almost any Spanish word and you can tell how it is pronounced. And while mastering the grammar of Spanish can be a challenge, basic grammar is straightforward enough that you can have meaningful communication after only a few lessons. If you can learn Spanish, you'll have a head start in learning the other Latin-based languages such as French and Italian. And it will even help you learn Russian and German, since they too have Indo-European roots and have some characteristics (such as gender and extensive conjugation) that are present in Spanish but not English. And I wouldn't be surprised if learning Spanish might even help you learn Japanese or any other non-Indo-European language, since intensive learning the structure of a language can give you a reference point for learning others.

    Some things to be aware of with Spanish are that native speakers tend to speak extremely quickly which means that something called 'elision' tends to be common with Spanish. This is when words are merged together and can make the listening part hard for learners. However, the fact that language is written phonetically making it easy to read and it's smooth, clear pronunciation tend to make up for it. In Northern Spain, the Spanish is supposedly clearer and easier to understand compared to Southern Spain where it is spoken more quickly and the dialects can be hard to understand. The Spanish called their language 'castellano' when talking about it in their own country but when comparing it with other world languages, will use 'español' also.

    A good website to check out if you think you may be interested in learning Spanish but aren't sure is the BBC website:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/

    And some other resources:

    http://www.notesinspanish.com/

    http://www.studyspanish.com/

    http://www.justspain.org/ (Info about Spain)

    http://www.elpais.com/global/
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    :eek:

    *prepares to make German equivalent of Jess' Spanish plug* :love:

    And bravo Marion, an excellent thread...(I can't believe you know the word 'abhor', btw )
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    (Original post by jonnythemoose)
    :eek:

    *prepares to make German equivalent of Jess' Spanish plug* :love:

    And bravo Marion, an excellent thread...(I can't believe you know the word 'abhor', btw )
    I've seen it last year and mispronounced it. I just can't forget it now
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    Mandarin, not Madarin [/pedantic]

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    (Original post by splorgie)
    Mandarin, not Madarin [/pedantic]

    Oh noes, typoes :awesome:
    I corrected it :yep:
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    Man, I really could have done with a thread like this when picking my course. It's like an extra layer of difficulty compared to picking other courses.

    Good work, Bravo

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