Linguistics Personal Statement Example 2

I feel the reason I have such an affinity for linguistics is because I am bilingual. I often find myself compelled by the relationship between English and Lithuanian, the two languages I speak fluently.

They are surprisingly similar and yet incredibly different, at times being translatable word for word, and other times, a word or phrase can be impossible to convey in English. This desire for an understanding of languages leads me to different fields within linguistics, the way a language has evolved from its ancestor, how a language such as Sanskrit, spoken thousands of miles away in India can be similar to Lithuanian.

This is another of the many reasons why the subject is so interesting, it is an extensive field which is artistic, scientific and philosophical. The way humans and even animals can communicate by forming complicated sounds where stress and tone can change meaning, as in African and South-East Asian tonal languages, is remarkable.

I often encounter the subject of accents as I have acquired a native and localised English accent. This surprises the people I meet, especially when I explain that I moved to the United Kingdom at the age of nine.

Linguistics holds the answer to these questions of accent, origin and acquisition and is something I have never had the chance to study but it is something that has always interested me, stemming from my experiences with English and Lithuanian.

I have long thought about how a word in Lithuanian, or any other language, may be found due to the existence of the concept and how this shapes the thought of a certain culture or ethnicity. This has brought me to the theories of Sapir and Whorf. Regardless, I believe that a concept can be explained even when it can not be named and therefore exists.

I have furthered my linguistic knowledge and understanding when helping my mother translate texts, such as case summaries, witness statements and letters, from Lithuanian to English and vice versa. What I sometimes come across is the need to use two or three words to describe one concept clearly.

Loan words have permeated the Lithuanian language, as any other, nonetheless, a simple example would be the word "idle", which does not have a direct counterpart and if someone was labelled idle, it would translate as "neturintis darbo", translating back as "without (a) job".

Through translation, I have gained invaluable knowledge of syntax and relationships between languages of different language families as well as change through extensive language contact.

My interests are wide ranging and I enjoy literature, music, sport, politics and science. I love to read and absorb the extensive knowledge passed down in books through generations. I also strive to keep fit, with basketball and football being my two favourite sports.

I play football every Sunday with a group of Lithuanians and enjoy following the trials and tribulations of my national team. The topic of politics is something I have grown to love. Having an understanding of the world around you helps to understand why the world is the way it is and I follow political developments keenly.

Language is often a political issue, where linguistic theory applies. The Belgian conflict of Dutch versus French has been raging for years and the nation is teetering on the brink of break-up. The way the two ethnic groups identify each other using language is a particular example of political linguistics and its impact on daily life.

I believe that university is the perfect place to nurture this passion for a subject which intrigues and captivates me. I enjoy working with people and love to analyse the thoughts and ideas of my counterparts, sharing my own knowledge and experiences with them and learning from theirs.

Linguistics is a topic that has had a significant impact on my life and I yearn to know much more about it. My experience and devotion to this subject will greatly assist me in any future linguistic endeavours.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by Andrius for application in 2009.

Andrius's Comments

I was quite happy with this, it got me offers from 4 out 5 - York, Newcastle, Leeds, Lancaster and Edinburgh said no (on the grounds that I didn't do a modern foreign language at GCSE).

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Statement rating:****

Comments

Hey it's ridiculous that

Hey it's ridiculous that Edinburgh turned you down for that reason!

Fantastic personal statement - it shows independence of thinking and a lively curiosity about one of the most interesting subjects.

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