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    Hello! I'm semi-new to linguistics, and have a query for you good people...

    I am going to apply to write a linguistics-based PhD in the next 18 months, but am taking some time out of education to write my application and build a strong foundation on the subject.

    At university, I studied translation, discourse analysis, and modern language. All of those topics touch on linguistics, but they are certainly not focused on its intricacies. I had an extracurricular interest in linguistics as a teenager, and did take one level 4 class five years ago which glossed over the subject superficially. But given how much time has passed, I'm starting from square one. I've bought a lot of textbooks about linguistics on the whole, a few about phonetics/phonology, and some of David Crystal's stuff that I read when I was a teenager. I'm slowly ploughing through these.

    What I want to know is, how well-versed does one need to be in phonetics/phonology in order to understand morphology and syntax? Furthermore, are morphology and syntax of great import to pragmatics, sociolinguistics, forensic linguistics, and historical linguistics? I suspect that is the case, given that I consistently see linguists using phonetics/phonology/morphology/syntax to argue their positions in broader fields.

    Where does this leave me? Should I be focusing on the little things to build my understanding of the bigger ones? Phonetics, in particular, is a gargantuan topic to get my head around, particularly seeing as I don't see myself giving it too much thought in my prospective academic career.

    If it is truly important to start with the little topics, does anyone know of a few fun, interactive online resources that might break them down for me? I've more or less cracked the IPA thing, but want to delve more deeply into phonetics/phonology if necessary. I'm just really struggling with the more theoretical side, but can't seem to find an introductory course that doesn't isn't too basic for my understanding.

    Thanks so much!
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    I really have no idea, but I think you are more likely to get answers to your questions if you asked this in the Postgraduate Applications forum (also use the search function, I would not be surprised if this question has been asked before).
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    (Original post by HayleyEliz)
    Hello! I'm semi-new to linguistics, and have a query for you good people...

    I am going to apply to write a linguistics-based PhD in the next 18 months, but am taking some time out of education to write my application and build a strong foundation on the subject.

    At university, I studied translation, discourse analysis, and modern language. All of those topics touch on linguistics, but they are certainly not focused on its intricacies. I had an extracurricular interest in linguistics as a teenager, and did take one level 4 class five years ago which glossed over the subject superficially. But given how much time has passed, I'm starting from square one. I've bought a lot of textbooks about linguistics on the whole, a few about phonetics/phonology, and some of David Crystal's stuff that I read when I was a teenager. I'm slowly ploughing through these.

    What I want to know is, how well-versed does one need to be in phonetics/phonology in order to understand morphology and syntax? Furthermore, are morphology and syntax of great import to pragmatics, sociolinguistics, forensic linguistics, and historical linguistics? I suspect that is the case, given that I consistently see linguists using phonetics/phonology/morphology/syntax to argue their positions in broader fields.

    Where does this leave me? Should I be focusing on the little things to build my understanding of the bigger ones? Phonetics, in particular, is a gargantuan topic to get my head around, particularly seeing as I don't see myself giving it too much thought in my prospective academic career.

    If it is truly important to start with the little topics, does anyone know of a few fun, interactive online resources that might break them down for me? I've more or less cracked the IPA thing, but want to delve more deeply into phonetics/phonology if necessary. I'm just really struggling with the more theoretical side, but can't seem to find an introductory course that doesn't isn't too basic for my understanding.

    Thanks so much!
    Well morphology and syntax are separate elements to phonetics and phonology. I understood syntax and morphology without ever having to read up on phonetics.

    Syntax is important in whatever field you study in linguistics. It's all about word order and sentence structure. I say it governs more stature in forensics and maybe sociolinguistics if you're looking at accents and dialects and so forth.

    Morphology is more important in Historical linguistics than syntax. But of course, if syntax is important to understanding the history words and etymology.

    If your PhD isn't going to focus on Phonetics then don't bother buying 20 books for it. All you need to know is the basic principles of it. Maybe just have an IPA chart next to you.

    Literally sweetheart, if your PhD has NO bearing on phonetics, then you'd be wasting your time researching it. It's like if were going to write a PhD on Medieval Theology in Chaucer's Medieval Poetry then, why on earth would I research 20th Century thinkers like Freud or Nietzsche when they have no importance to Medieval Theology or poetry?

    If your PhD will be about speech impediments of children's language acquisition, then of course phonetics and phonology will be important. However, if you're going to be doing your PhD in the use of language in a court of law then that's more to do with syntax, grammar and so forth. You'll probably need a little bit of knowledge on how to transcribe transcripts but that's it. Do you see what I mean?

    Phonetics and Phonology is a huge topic but it will seem very small if it's irrelevant to your study.

    PS: what will your study be about?
 
 
 
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