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    (Original post by Supergrunch)
    Is your lecturer Adam Ledgeway? If so the grammatical aspects may be relatively advanced, but probably still less so than, say the first year linguistics structures and meanings module. Your best bet is probably an introduction to Chomskyan ideas, maybe The Language Organ: Linguistics as Cognitive Psychology by Stephen R. Anderson and David Lightfoot. Something like Stephen Pinker's The Language Instinct would also introduce you to some of these concepts in a very readable way, but might be a bit too pop-sciencey.

    Cook and Newson is probably a bit too much the other way - while definitely introductory, it gets quite technical, and if generative grammar is only a part of your course, then you'll probably find it goes into more detail than you need. And I wouldn't trust Wikipedia for linguistics, it's notoriously dodgy at that. You might find the reading lists on the Cambridge linguistics website more helpful - look at general linguistics, structures and meanings, and syntax if you're feeling brave.
    Yep, that's the badger I'm really excited about the course. Don't understand everything I'm reading, but then, you're not meant to first time round. I'll check out the Language Organ once I get back to College. Thanks! I'm not really sure what will come into the course or to what extent - this is the first time I'll be studying linguistics properly so I don't really know what a linguistics essay will be like even. Somehow I get the feeling they won't be quite like a lit essay. haha
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    (Original post by Canned Door)
    Yep, that's the badger I'm really excited about the course. Don't understand everything I'm reading, but then, you're not meant to first time round. I'll check out the Language Organ once I get back to College. Thanks! I'm not really sure what will come into the course or to what extent - this is the first time I'll be studying linguistics properly so I don't really know what a linguistics essay will be like even. Somehow I get the feeling they won't be quite like a lit essay. haha
    Probably not, based on the lit essays of my friends that I've read. :p: No problem anyway, hope you enjoy the course. What have you been reading at the moment?
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    (Original post by Supergrunch)
    Probably not, based on the lit essays of my friends that I've read. :p: No problem anyway, hope you enjoy the course. What have you been reading at the moment?
    You mean, you can't just write "SEX SEX PHALLIC SEX" in a ling essay? I'm going to fail.

    I've read Penny's History to the Spanish Language, which is really good, really clear. I'm reading Posner's The Romance Languages (1996?) at the moment. Really enjoying that. I've a feeling it's going to be one of the very very core books for the paper. And I started off with Campbell's Historical linguistics : an introduction because I'd had it recommended to me as one of the better introductions to Historical Linguistics.

    I tried to read Ewert, A., The French Language. I got the 1943 edition, and you can tell it's written by someone born in the 19th century, let's put it that way. I put it aside and I'm going to try something a bit easier to read. It's basically a French historical grammar, but it's not organised by themes or problems. It reads just like a very boring grammar book.

    I feel like I'm doing some sort of science again. It's a good feeling.

    Have you done much specific-languagey-linguistics like this?
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    (Original post by Canned Door)
    Have you done much specific-languagey-linguistics like this?
    Yes, although mainly for Japanese - actually, the book that got me into linguistics was Natsuko Tsujimura's Introduction to Japanese Linguistics which is quite fun. And yes, Campbell's historical linguistics book is good, I actually used it a fair bit last year for the historical paper.
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    To those who applied for Linguistics last year: could you tell me a bit about INTERVIEWS FOR LINGUISTICS at Cambridge? What was yours like? What kind of questions could possibly be asked?

    There are recordings of "mock interviews" available to download online, but those only cover subject areas such as law, biology or medicine. Also, all subject-specific information about interviews I have found seems to concern interviews for the most popular courses. For this reason, I'm a little anxious because I don't know what to expect! Someone ease my mind, please!
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    To those who applied for Linguistics last year: could you tell me a bit about INTERVIEWS FOR LINGUISTICS at Cambridge? What was yours like? What kind of questions could possibly be asked?
    In my INTERVIEW we first spoke a bit about the things I wrote about in my personal statement, so that part obviously will be a function of what's in your PS. Then I was given some questions about syntax; I think those were the same for everyone. I got the impression that they were more interested in how I went about solving the problems than whether my answers were correct.

    There are recordings of "mock interviews" available to download online, but those only cover subject areas such as law, biology or medicine. Also, all subject-specific information about interviews I have found seems to concern interviews for the most popular courses. For this reason, I'm a little anxious because I don't know what to expect! Someone ease my mind, please!
    At this point you should concentrate on writing an outstanding personal statement. When you get to the interview you're really at the mercy of your own ability to respond to the questions and ideas presented to you, but I don't think there's very much you can do to prepare for that.
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    (Original post by EWS)
    When you get to the interview you're really at the mercy of your own ability to respond to the questions and ideas presented to you, but I don't think there's very much you can do to prepare for that.
    I know and I certainly don't want to prepare myself for answering any particular type of questions! However, any procedure like this is simply much less stressful when you know what you can expect. Say, I treat it as part of moral preparations (is this a Polish calque I'm using or does this expression actually exist in English? :confused: )
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    Say, I treat it as part of moral preparations (is this a Polish calque I'm using or does this expression actually exist in English? :confused: )
    Don't be so Catholic about it :p:
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    OK. By the way, I want to read an introduction to historical linguistics before my interview in Dec if my application is accepted (it's one of my favourite areas of linguistic study and I put it in my Personal Statement, but I've never had the chance to read a complete 500-page publication on it and I want to do so now)?, but I certainly don't have the time to read three books from the preliminary reading list which are called "An Introduction to Historical Linguistics", "Historical linguistics: An introduction" and "Historical linguistics" , especially that I want to do a little reading on other things as well!

    So, which one of the following do you consider to be the best introduction to historical linguistics if it's going to be the only one I'll read before my interview?

    Aitchison, Jean (1991) Language Change: Progress or Decay? CUP.
    Campbell, Lyle (1998) Historical linguistics: An introduction. Edinburgh UP.
    Crowley, Terry (1992) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. OUP.
    Fox, Anthony (1995) Linguistic Reconstruction: An Introduction to Theory and Method. OUP.
    McMahon, April (1994) Understanding Language Change. CUP.
    Trask, R. L. (1996) Historical linguistics. Arnold
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    I haven't read any of the others, so this I can't say this one is the best, but I read L. Campbell the other week and thought it was very clear. I've also heard other people giving it good reviews. It gave lots of examples (lots from Finnish and South American languages) which I found helped, even if the source languages weren't always as accessible as if it were more Euro-centric. I don't think it assumes too much prior knowledge either, and gives small corpuses for you to try to apply what you've learnt. Doesn't give any answers unfortunately.
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    Thank you, I've heard other people giving it good reviews, too. I've already ordered it online. Now, how about an introduction to general linguistics? Something less general public-oriented than "The Language Instinct", perhaps? I have seen something called "An Introduction to Linguistics" by Loreto Todd in the school library. Has any of you read it?
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    Thank you, I've heard other people giving it good reviews, too. I've already ordered it online. Now, how about an introduction to general linguistics? Something less general public-oriented than "The Language Instinct", perhaps? I have seen something called "An Introduction to Linguistics" by Loreto Todd in the school library. Has any of you read it?
    Personally I found How Language Works by David Crystal an accessible and readable introduction when I first got interested.
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    Thank you, I've heard other people giving it good reviews, too. I've already ordered it online. Now, how about an introduction to general linguistics? Something less general public-oriented than "The Language Instinct", perhaps? I have seen something called "An Introduction to Linguistics" by Loreto Todd in the school library. Has any of you read it?
    Getting the one in the library would be a good start since it doesn't cost you any money. You can always get it out, have a look at it and if you don't find it useful then take it back.

    I'm reading "Linguistics: An Introduction" by Andrew Radford etc atm. It's basically a textbook but it's pretty easy to read.
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    If you read Pinker's "The Language Instinct", I suggest you read "Don't sleep, there are snakes" by Daniel Everett as well.
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    Agreed with all of the above. Crystal is a very nice way to read about most things, although it doesn't go very in-depth. I read Everett before Pinker, and I think it's better to have a bit of background on Chomsky's theories and the nature-nurture debate, just because it's easier to understand both point of views. I've started 'Linguistics: An Introduction' after I discovered I had it on my laptop, and it is indeed pretty easy to read, and pretty catchy too. I remember Sapientia mentioning William O'Grady's 'Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction', and I really enjoyed the small bit I got to read. It goes a lot more in-depth than Crystal, and covers a lot.
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    Hi, may I ask what kind of written work you sent in? It's the part of the application process I've got to admit I'm a bit worried about as I haven't really produced anything appropriate at school - I am just submitting my application, so I haven't been asked to send anything in yet, but my college's site says that Linguistics applicants are required to submit an example of written work as a matter of course. They say they prefer written work in the form of an essay, but I haven't really done a proper essay as part of my coursework. What I am thinking of submitting is a written assignment I wrote for my French class. However:

    - it is relatively short (400 words)
    - although it does show my aptitude with regard to the French language (at least at what the Common European Framework defines as the B2 level), linguistics is not really about learning specific languages
    - although it does deal with a contentious issue (testing cosmetics on animals), I'm slightly worried it may not be critical enough as it was done mainly as a French rather than Philosophy/Ethics assignment.

    Specifically, it is a "pamphlet I would distribute in the streets of your town if I learned that a cosmetics company was opening a factory in the area". Alternatively, I could submit another French assignment, a letter to a friend from a trip in Venice, but I feel it would be even less appropriate because I don't think it is representative of my critical thinking abilities at all.

    As a matter of fact, there is one piece of written work I'm actually quite happy about, but the problem is, it was sent to my Philosophy teacher by e-mail. The mark was entered in the school register, but the work itself was not physically marked with red ink. Would it still be appropriate to print it out and submit?

    What do you think is the best thing to do? :woo: Should I try contacting the college at this stage?
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    You could choose a college that doesn't use written work as part of the admissions process? Lots of colleges do an interview or a test instead, cf. http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/unde...ics/tests.html.
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    i would ask a teacher and see if they would mark it for you. my written piece was actually a history essay. my history teacher ended up remarking it (with the same comments and mark) so that it was just a bit clearer. but realistically, i think the point is mostly so that they can see what writing ability you have. some people come from a science background remember.
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    I applied to Magdalene in the end. They don't use written work as part of the admissions process.

    I'm a bit suspicious of the data on this site. There are some discrepancies between it and the information on college websites.
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    (Original post by ZuzaMagda)
    I applied to Magdalene in the end. They don't use written work as part of the admissions process.



    I'm a bit suspicious of the data on this site. There are some discrepancies between it and the information on college websites.
    Good luck then

    And yeah, I ended up having a mini test in my interview. I mean, it wasn't a formal test, but I still think it was unfair since they didnt state it on the website :P
 
 
 

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