Linguistics Personal Statement Example 6

I have recently become greatly interested in linguistics and exploring how communication between human beings is constructed and developed. Achieving a grade 9 in French and Spanish at GCSE, and continuing Spanish to A level, I feel I am gaining a solid understanding of how these two languages are structured and formed, as well as thoroughly enjoying being able to hold a conversation using both. I have found that my love for languages is due to the way in which they are learned. For example, spotting patterns and using these discoveries to predict the behaviour of a language, or using the building blocks of a language to express more complex ideas. The latter is particularly prevalent in my Spanish studies, as many tenses are used to convey many different meanings; though this is difficult, I enjoy mastering each tense as I learn it.

My interested was fuelled even further by attending a Cambridge HE+ event in March 2020, where I participated in a taster course for linguistics and learnt some basic ideas about phonology and semantics. One part that particularly fascinated me was looking at the insertion of the word 'only' into the sentence 'she said that she loved him'. We discussed how this word's insertion at different points gave the sentence a new meaning, as well as learning why this happens. Ideas like this make me curious to discover more about syntax and semantics.

With the aim of furthering my knowledge of linguistics, I have begun to read How Language Works by David Crystal, a book that discusses the workings of human communication, from how our bodies produce different sounds, to how a language is born, developed and forgotten. One chapter, 'How we describe speech sounds', mentions coarticulation, the concept that sounds can involve overlapping or simultaneous articulations. Crystal explains anticipatory coarticulation by using an example of the words sue and see in which the [s] sounds are pronounced with spread lips and rounded lips respectively, because the mouth is anticipating the following vowels. It amazes me that our body does this unconsciously.
In addition to this, I have been listening to the podcast 'Lingthusiasm', which talks about many debates within linguistics, and I frequently watch videos from Tom Scott, a linguist on YouTube. By using many different sources to start to learn about linguistics, I feel that I am building a solid foundation for the subject.

During year 12, I worked as an assistant in year 7 and year 8 Spanish lessons. This helped to fortify my own confidence in the language by teaching it to others. Moreover, it allowed me to share my love for languages and also to encourage younger students to be passionate about them.

Aside from academics, I was able to enhance my interpersonal skills by taking part in the National Citizen Service during the summer of 2019. I strengthened many skills during the three weeks: my self confidence by talking to new people; my teamwork and leadership skills during our social action project; and communication, through our interactive workshops. Whilst developing these skills through canoeing, hiking, an interpretive dance lesson and a ukulele class, I had an amazing three weeks and made some great friends from the experience.

Having never studied linguistics in school, I am excited to learn as much as I can at university. With uncertainty towards my future career path, I strongly believe that this subject will give me countless skills to prepare me for any path I choose, and I look forward to the opportunities that this degree can give me.

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I was so worried that my personal statement wouldn't have the amazing achievements that others on this website did, but it turned out okay! I received conditional offers from University of York, University of Wolverhampton, York St John University as well as an unconditional offer from Newcastle University. I withdrew from Edinburgh as they took too long to respond, so will never know if they would've made an offer.


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