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Statements of Excellence in Linguistics

PHD Linguistics Sample Personal Statement, Saudi Arabian Applicant

The teaching of languages in my home country, Saudi Arabia, is generally based on the old ‘chalk and talk’ principle with little participation by students, with the results generally reflecting this situation. I am passionate in my desire to contribute to improving the teaching methods in place in the KSA. In order to do this, I first need to earn the PHD in Linguistics.

 

My central professional goal is to assume major responsibilities as a professor teaching new generations of language teachers. My central pedagogical strategy is to enthuse and inspire, making the content come alive for teachers of language, and subsequently their students.

 

The University of XXXX is my first choice among PHD programs in Linguistics. I have several friends in XXXX and I like very much everything that I read about your university. The primary reason why I have my heart set on attending your program in particular, however, is the fact that it is listed as #1 by the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education, my sponsor.

 

Once I have completed the PHD in Linguistics from the University of XXXX, I shall have the opportunity to take up a senior teaching post upon my return to the KSA. I seek a full immersion experience as a doctoral student in the areas of second language acquisition and social-linguistics. I feel confident that my solid background in TESL and teaching methods will help me to excel in my doctoral studies. Earning my PHD from the University of XXXX will serve as the optimal springboard upon which to launch the balance of my career as an educational professional in Saudi Arabia and, within time, as a full professor in in the area of Second Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistics.

 

I have been especially fascinated by language ever since I can remember because it is so pervasive in our lives and provides great insight into what people are thinking. My early interest in how language works and the relationship between language and communication developed, over time, into my desire to teach languages. As an alumnus from the Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSU), I graduated with honours in two departments, Translation as well as Languages. Earning this degree gave me extensive knowledge in a variety of fields that are closely related to English language, especially Translation, Literature, Linguistics and Teaching Methodology. My studies enabled me to greatly develop my linguistic abilities and to acquire a vast appreciation for English Literature in addition to language. I especially enjoy focusing language acquisition through the use of cultural concepts that serve as bridges of knowledge that foster successful communication with English speakers, raising awareness of the way in which the customs of different peoples are reflected in their language.

 

During the last semester of my bachelor's program, I spent three months teaching English in our public-school system. My experience as a teacher helped to inspire and intensify my focus on integrating linguistics and education. Shortly after my graduation, I found the balance I was looking for when I was chosen for a position as a Teacher Assistant in the English Language Department at IMSU. In this position, I came to more fully appreciate the importance of keeping myself up-to-date in the literature of advanced education, promising research, and creative teaching methods in my field.

 

I completed my MA in TESL and Linguistics at XXXX University in XXXX and this has helped me to become familiar with and most comfortable in the American educational system. My graduate courses in the MA program provided me with a solid immersion in the fundamentals of Linguistics. I learned about many of the intricacies of linguistics and teaching, learning from world-famous professors with global perspectives.  This helped me to radically enhance my understanding of theory and enlightened me a great deal with respect to a broad gambit of issues and challenges in Linguistics.

 

What I have learned about teaching so far has deeply impressed me with the infinite character of knowledge. I profoundly appreciate the privilege of advancing professionally and keenly anticipate a full immersion in the theoretical examination of language acquisition reinforced by my own personal and professional experiences as a teacher, second language learner, and researcher. I am especially passionate about language and society, language change, and language acquisition. I believe that a world-class education in Sociolinguistics will help me to become the finest English Language educator that I can be, making my fullest contribution to the advancement of my society.

 

I like to think of myself as an international educational ambassador, adding to the diversity and richness of the University of XXXX. After completing your program, I will return home to utilize my abilities as a researcher and scholar to progressively enhance and enrich the Saudi educational system as a faculty member in the English Language Department. I look forward to a long professional lifetime teaching and networking in the KSA and beyond in such a way as to contribute maximum sensitivity to our study of cultural perspectives and diversity in education. I feel strongly that the University of XXXX is the best place to begin my journey and I thank you for considering my application.

All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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Great Accomplishments in Linguistics

All languages change over time. There can be many different reasons for this. The English language is no different to any other. Why has it changed over the decades? Usually because of people! In fact, some might argue that one of the biggest accomplishments of mankind is developing language!

Some of the main influences on the evolution of languages include the following:

  • The movement of people across countries and continents. For example, migration and, in previous centuries, colonization. An example of this is how English speakers today would probably be comfortable using the Spanish word “loco” to describe someone who is “crazy”.
  • Speakers of one language coming into contact with those who speak a different one: no two individuals speak identically; people from different geographical places clearly speak differently and even within the same community there are variations according to a speaker’s age, gender, ethnicity and social and educational background. The word “courting”, for example, has become “dating”.
  • The new vocabulary required for inventions like transport, domestic appliances and industrial equipment, or for sporting, entertainment, cultural and leisure reasons. For example, the original late 19th-century term “wireless” has become “radio”.

Due to these influences, a language always embraces new words, expressions and pronunciations as people come across new words and phrases in their day-to-day lives and integrate them into their own speech. 

What changes has the English language seen?

As the English language has changed, it’s been easy to pick out words that fall into common usage.

The increase in popularity of internet slang has seen phrases such as “LOL” (Laugh Out Loud), “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) and “bae” (an abbreviated form of babe or baby) become firmly embedded in the English language over the past ten years.

Every decade sees new slang terms like these appearing in the English language in every region where it’s spoken.

And while some words or abbreviations come from internet or text conversations, others may appear as entirely new words, a new meaning for an existing word, or a word that becomes more generalized than its former meaning, brought about by any one of the reasons above.

Decades ago, “blimey” was a new expression of surprise, but more recently “woah” has replaced it.

Sentence structure is another change to English language. Just a few decades ago, it would have been normal to ask “Have you a moment?” Now, you would probably say “Do you have a sec?” Similarly, “How do you do?” has now become “How’s it going?” Not only have the sentences been abbreviated so they’re shorter, new words have been introduced to everyday questions.

Connected to this is the replacement of certain words with other, more-modern versions of them. It’s pretty noticeable that words like “shall” and “ought” are on the way out. “Will”, “should” and “can” are doing just fine, however.

Other changes can be more subtle: a number of verbs can take a complement with another verb in either the “-ing” form or the “to” form, for example “they liked painting/to paint”, “we tried leaving/to leave”, “he didn’t bother calling/to call”. Both of these constructions are still used. They have been used for a long time, but there has been a steady shift over the years from the “to” to the “-ing” complement.

There are many other changes to the English language. Have you noticed? Have these changes affected your teaching or learning methods?

Most contemporary linguistic commentators accept that change in language, like change in society, is perfectly inevitable. Some think that is regrettable. And others recognize it as a reinvigoration of a language, bringing alternatives that allow subtle differences of expression.

In a recent report, the linguist, writer and lecturer David Crystal considered whether “text speak” is undermining the English language. His response to the naysayers who claim it is damaging the English language is to point out that abbreviations have been around for a very long time.

While some, such as the ones we discussed above, are new, others, like the use of “u” for “you” and the number 8 as a syllable in “later”, have been around for a century or more.

Further to this, research shows that there is in fact a correlation between the ability to use abbreviations and the ability to spell all words—in order to abbreviate, you have to know which letters to abbreviate, of course.

What do you think about the way English is changing? Will you study that during your linguistics program? Let us know!

I completed my PHD in Religion and Social Ethics at the University of Southern California in 1995 and began studying towards a Master’s Degree in TESOL at the University of Illinois. That September, I found myself quite challenged by my linguistics class where, among other things, we had to invent a new language, complete with grammar, syntax, etc. The following year I was selected to teach for one year at the Universitat of Barcelona in Spain. The next year I began working on the Internet.

My greatest strength in helping you to write an extremely effective statement for admission to advanced study in linguistics is not so much my own understanding of linguistics per se, but rather my understanding and creative capacity to help you to develop and articulate your long term career plans and contribution to society, in other words, what you intend to do with your advanced degree in linguistics once you earn it.

The science of analyzing conversations

Degree sought, field, or place of origin!

The linguistic genius of babies.