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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|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:||I wouldn't think that your background should be seen as a negative factor for graduate work in linguistics at all. It is highly relevant to some important areas of the subject, as you realize yourself with your mentions of speech synthesis, etc. But linguistics departments differ among themselves; to capitalize on your background, you should choose one which is strong in the phonetics end of the subject, and has research going on with an engineering sort of flavour, rather than a department which is oriented exclusively to humanities and/or social-science aspects of the subject. I would not recommend studying more languages; you already have a more diverse language background than the average entrant to a linguistics second degree course. You might want to read up some phonetics, including acoustic as well as articulatory phonetics, to show that you are interested in making a bridge from what you already know about to the area you want to embark on. Good luck! Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|