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Department of Linguistics

MA Language Documentation and Description

Duration: One calendar year (full-time), two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: Upper-second class degree (or equivalent)

Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications usually invited

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Today, there are around 6-7,000 languages spoken in the world and it is widely agreed that at least half of those are under threat of extinction within 50 to 100 years. Language documentation is a new sub-discipline within linguistics that has emerged as a response to the growing crisis of language endangerment. It emphasises data collection methodologies, in two ways: first, in encouraging researchers to collect and record a wide range of linguistic phenomena in genuine communicative situations; and secondly, in its use of high quality sound and video recording to make sure that the results are the best possible record of the language.

The MA programme in Language Documentation and Description is intended for students who wish to specialise in the documentation and description of languages, with a focus on minority and endangered languages. This specialist MA is characterised by an integrated core of subject offerings that are oriented around issues in language documentation and description, plus a series of options in linguistics, applied linguistics, and language studies.

The programme is formulated with two main pathways:

MA Language Documentation and Description [Language Support and Revitalisation] provides an introductory overview of the study of language as well as courses geared at enabling students to support endangered and minority language communities in a number of ways. This pathway is open to students with or without a background in linguistics.

MA Language Documentation and Description [Field Linguistics] provides students with a sound knowledge of state-of-the-art methods and technology for language documentation and description with an emphasis on endangered and minority languages. This pathway is open to students who already hold an undergraduate major in linguistics/applied linguistics, or an MA in linguistics.

This course is part of the Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP), which specifically aims to advance the documentation and description of endangered languages. ELAP also runs seminars, workshops, and intensive courses on the documentation of endangered languages. The programme is funded by the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund, and forms part of the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.

For more information about the MA, please download the 2012/13 MA Linguistics Handbook.

Structure

The MA Language Documentation and Description (LDD) consists of three components: core courses, option courses and dissertation research. This degree programme is formulated with two different pathways; one specialising in Language Support and Revitalisation and the other specialising in Field Linguistics.

Regardless of the pathway they chose, all students take the equivalent of 2 full units as core courses, and the equivalent of 1 full unit as option courses and submit a Masters dissertation at the end of the year. The MA may be taken part-time, over two or three years, and there is a possibility for transferring between the two pathways for part-time students.

MA Language Documentation and Description [Language Support and Revitalisation]

This pathway is open for full-time study to students with or without a BA in linguistics and provides an introductory overview of the study of language as well as courses geared at enabling students to support endangered and minority language communities in a number of ways. For part-time options and details please see the MA Handbook. The core courses for this pathway are:

MA Language Documentation and Description [Field Linguistics]

This pathway is open to students with a BA in Linguistics and equivalent and provides students with a sound knowledge of state-of-the-art methods and technology for language documentation and description with an emphasis on endangered and minority languages. For part-time options and details please see the MA handbook. The core courses for this pathway are:

Optional Courses

Any course/s to the value of 1 unit from the list of running Linguistics PG courses.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

A Student's Perspective

I enjoy the student atmosphere here. The Students’ Union bar and café is cozy and friendly and I’ve enjoyed getting involved in the knitting for peace club. Also I have been impressed by the array of specialists in the department of Linguistics.

Birgul Yilmmaz