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Subject: Sound engineering and linguistics
Question: Hello, First of all I'm sorry for posing a question that seems quite personal, but I'm sure there should be a lot of other people who have similar questions in mind. I'd like to ask about moving onto linguistics from a seemingly unrelated subject, and what would be the best thing to do in order to prepare myself for this. I'm a sound engineering student in the last year of my BA. I am extremely interested in linguistics and would like to continue my education in this field; continue on to a MA and PHD in linguistics after my BA in sound engineering. I am a bit lost in the sense that sound engineering is not directly related to linguistics, and compared with someone who did their initial study in linguistics, continuing on to a PHD in linguistics after a basis in music and sound engineering seems a bit irrelevant. Perhaps most universities wouldn't even accept a student with this background. I would like to ask you professional linguists if this is a big set back, or do you think I could turn it into an advantage? For example, focusing on research about speech synthesis, etc. Do you think universities (I'm thinking MIT) would be reluctant to accept a student who has no background in linguistics? What kind of extra work can I do during my last year of study to prepare for linguistic research? To give some extra information about myself, I have 3 years teaching experience as a music teacher and I love teaching. I love learning as well, I've had very high academic performance all my life. I'm dead set on devoting the rest of my life to learning and teaching. I'm Turkish, and studied in a bilingual high school. My university is connected to a British university and during my last year of BA I will be living in London (my degree will be issued in England). I speak Turkish, English, French and Japanese fluently and am a very fast language learner. During my last year, should I focus on learning more languages, studying to get top scores in standardized tests like the GRE, or do something else that relates to linguistics (like taking non-credit classes in SOAS if that is possible, since I will be in London)? What do you think I need to prepare for academic research in linguistics, and to show universities that I am prepared?
Reply: FWIW - Here's my take: I would probably focus on learning languages and any linguistics that you can. If you have the option to do any kind of senior thesis relating to linguistics, that would also be beneficial. Maybe music and linguistic theory combined? A music/sound engineering background is a good basis for learning more about phonetics and phonology. There may also be connections between musical structure and syntax and other aspects of language, so this background does have its advantages. GRE Scores are reasonably important, but honestly I was questioned far more about my senior theses. I never heard a single comment one way or the other about my GRE.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 19-Dec-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Sound engineering and linguistics    Susan D Fischer     (19-Dec-2013)
  2. Re: Sound engineering and linguistics    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (19-Dec-2013)
  3. Re: Sound engineering and linguistics    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (19-Dec-2013)

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