English Language and Linguistics Personal Statement
It was whilst in the linguistically diverse culture of South Africa, that my wish to study English Language and Linguistics was confirmed.
In a country with eleven national languages, I was able to see Krashen's theories on second language acquisition in practice, learn about the 'clicking' sounds of Xhosa and meet people, who are deemed "uneducated", yet are fluent in two or more languages. Each of these experiences further fuelled my desire to study more deeply into language and communication.
Having lived in Norwich all my life, I find Peter Trudgill's research into the dialect in Norwich especially interesting and reading this encouraged my interest in the phonological variation of dialects in the UK.
Whilst looking further into Trudgill's work I discovered the intriguing issue of dialect levelling, and have been fascinated by the variety of factors - whether economic, geographic or technological - which are causing this.
An aspect which I have enjoyed studying is language and gender. The differentiation between men and women's language use, such as those identified by Robin Lakoff, is something that I unconsciously end up identifying in everyday conversation.
Due to both of these interests, I particularly look forward to the opportunity to study sociolinguistics at degree level.
For a number of years, I have taken part in public speaking competitions and enjoyed the opportunity to listen to, and analyse the speeches made by other teams.
At a recent competition, I was awarded 'Best Speaker'. I believe my interest in the English language was a factor in my success, as I was able to consider language techniques, such as pragmatics, and the use of emotive language to keep the audience attentive and persuaded by my views.
I believe music to be the most universal form of communication and that it compliments studies in linguistics very well. Music is a large part of my life and I have been a chorister for 6 years.
This has developed my confidence, commitment and leadership to a level, whereby I achieved Dean's & Bishop's chorister awards and have been appointed Head Chorister. My music taste is wide and varied and I enjoy attending concerts of a range of music, as well as playing the clarinet and saxophone, in which I have achieved grades 4 and 3 respectively.
Through 2005/6, I worked as part of a team to raise the funds for us to work for the summer at Rehoboth Children's Village for HIV+ children, in South Africa.
Although it was difficult to see children battling such a cruel disease, it was an amazing experience that I will certainly never forget. I feel that I left South Africa a more mature person, with greater experience of life. Following this, I am currently working for the University Awards Scheme ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness.
I have always taken an active part in my school's community, whether through peer mentoring or performing in school plays.
During years 10 and 11, I was appointed a senior student leader, due to my commitment to the student leadership team. I have helped in the teaching of a year 8 Drama class for the past year and found it rewarding to pass on the skills which I have learnt in A Level Theatre Studies.
This experience enabled me to help to set up an after school drama club at a local primary school.
In the future, I hope to follow a career in teaching and see the study of language as being an important life skill in the steps towards this.
Summer schools at the University of East Anglia and taster courses with the University of London have reinforced my wish to study at university and I firmly believe a degree in English Language and Linguistics will enable me to study an ever developing and integral part of society.
This personal statement was written by hopeofthestates for application in 2007.