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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.

Degree sought, field, or place of origin!

The linguistic genius of babies.

MA Linguistics Personal Statement Sample, Applicant from Hong Kong

I come from a society, Hong Kong, in which language learning is widely regarded as merely a means of equipping the learner to maximise earnings. I became aware early in my study of English that it is much more important and significant than that, it is a vital key to understanding the culture from which the language has emerged. Without that understanding, language skills cannot provide anything more than a superficial, basic and ultimately unsatisfactory means of communication. This awareness fired my initial interest in linguistics which has grown over time. I am also very interested in the varieties of English that exist and the reasons for differences in them and how those variations are developing currently. I believe that certain variations should be accepted as legitimate sub-languages in their own right, including ‘Hong Kong English’ with which I am very familiar.

As my undergraduate studies in Linguistics have progressed, a strong interest in the subject has developed into a genuine passion. I am ‘on target’ to gain a first-class degree in English and Linguistics from King’s College.  I believe that this fact clearly indicates an exceptional interest and ability in the subject, especially in view of the fact that I am not a native speaker of English. My results to date also provides evidence both of the necessary commitment and academic potential to ‘add value’ to, and to excel in, a Master’s programme. My ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. and to become an academic, undertaking research and teaching at the highest level.

In addition to my academic studies, I have some admittedly limited but nevertheless useful work experience. I have provided assistance to my sister who is a Research Assistant in Linguistics to undertake data collection/data analysis and have undertaken some professional creative writing. As a trilingual person who speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin, I have a special interest in the similarities and differences between their syntax and phonology. I have a very good understanding of traditional grammar. However, I should now like to investigate how we actually use our languages rather than merely studying the “correct” rules in their usage. I am particularly interested in looking into different non-native English accents, exploring their underlying phonological systems as compared to English RP. I am also curious about the variations of accents among single-language communities and how they arise. I hope to be able to acquire a greater understanding of some of these matters in the course of the programme.

I believe that, in addition to my formal studies, my experience of mastering a tongue which is totally unrelated to my native languages of Mandarin and Cantonese has further extended an already excellent foundation on which to build expertise in linguistics. It has also demonstrated to me how much, and how fundamentally, culture affects the ways in which we express ourselves. I marvel at the ways in which our forebears have managed to construct, through trial and error, the means to communicate concisely, precisely and sometimes poetically and have achieved these ends in such very different ways. What subject of study could be more fascinating?

I have happily studied, worked and socialised with people from many cultural and social backgrounds. I enjoy learning about new cultures and in sharing knowledge of my own rich heritage. I enjoy collaborating as a team member and am also happy to provide leadership when called upon to do so. I have held various offices in university organisations and am regarded as an outgoing, hard-working person with organisational ability.

I have limited research experience but I understand basic research techniques from working with my sister who is engaged in Linguistics research.  I am aware that useful research calls for special characteristics in those undertaking it. I know that a good researcher must, among other things, be able to: construct clear goals; think creatively and originally; be determined; be an excellent communicator and have exceptional intuitive and interpretative skills. I believe that I have the basic characteristics and that these can be developed to enable me to become a first class researcher. I also believe that the characteristics of a good teacher overlap considerably with these same traits. I have carefully observed and noted the characteristics and techniques applied by the best teachers who have taught me with the aim, one day, of emulating them and I continue to do so.

I have carefully researched the Master’s programmes s available to help me achieve my goals and have concluded that your own is, by far, the ‘best fit’. I am seeking a programme with an impressive international reputation in the field with first class experimental facilities.  I am also seeking an academic environment which is highly challenging but supportive and in which I shall be enabled to considerably expand my knowledge and skills in linguistics and assist in research. I am particularly drawn by the fact that I shall be able to ‘tailor’ the programme to some extent to fit my own special interests which lie in Grammar, Lexis, Phonology and Phonetics. Consequently, I am particularly drawn to the specific modules of ‘Syntax’, ‘Phonetics and Phonology’, ‘Current Issues in Syntax’ and ‘Advanced Phonological Theory’.

To summarize: I am successfully undertaking highly relevant academic studies. I have demonstrated a high degree of commitment and diligence to have reached the point at which I am submitting this application and I believe that this also demonstrates significant potential to excel in a more demanding academic environment. However my main recommendation is my genuine passion for the subject and for assisting in making further advances in it and in sharing my passion with a new generation of linguistic specialists.

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”.

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Statements of Excellence in Linguistics

Sample 1st Paragaraph for MA Program in Linguistics, Hong Kong English

I hope to continue to study at hte MPhil/PhD level with a view to pursuing an academic career for the balance of my professional lifetime. My ultimate ambition is to be an academic / lecturer / professor specialising in phonology / syntax and world variations in English. I am also particularly keen to carry out research investigating traditional and formal syntax, phonology and attitudes towards different native and non-native English accents. By completing this MA in linguistics, I am also determined to lead the discussion / arguments towards the recognition of Hong Kong English as a variety of English in its own right.

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.

The science of analyzing conversations