Why study Linguistics?
The ability to communicate in complex ways using language is arguably what sets us apart from other animal species. But where did language come from? How are we able to make speech sounds, to put these sounds together to form words, and then put these words together to form sentences? Why do we sometimes change our language in different social situations? Why does language change so much over time? And what does all this tell us about how our minds work? These are just some of the questions that are being addressed in Linguistics.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It bridges the social sciences, the humanities and the natural sciences. The study of Linguistics would be especially beneficial to anyone with an interest in languages, psychology, sociology, communication disorders, computer science and anthropology.
Did you know?
- The Linguistics Department at UC is a thriving research hub which attracts internationally renowned scholars.
- The Origins of New Zealand English corpus is housed at UC, giving students a unique opportunity to explore New Zealand English from its earliest inception in the 1800s.
The Linguistics department at UC has close ties with
The New Zealand Institute of Language Brain and Behaviour (NZILBB) which is a multi-disciplinary research centre dedicated to the study of human language.
- Our research feeds into all areas of our teaching. Students have the opportunity to help with this while gaining valuable experience and paid employment by working as research assistants on some of the many research projects underway in the Linguistics department at UC.
- You can follow what we’re up to on our facebook page, on twitter (@UCLinguistics) and our blog.
- Te Reo is the Journal of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand
News and Announcements
Linguistics PhD student Ksenia Gnevsheva is presenting a paper at the Sociolinguistic Symposium in Finland. The paper is called “Sociolinguistic style and ‘accentedness’ in non-native English speakers”.
Papers from a special issue of ‘English Language and Linguistics’, edited by Lynn Clark, Kevin Watson & Warren Maguire (University of Edinburgh), make up half of the journal’s top 10 ‘most downloaded papers in the last 12 months’. The introduction to the special issue, written by the editors, is the most downloaded article.
300 level Linguistics student Emily Peach has been awarded a scholarship from the NZ Federation of Graduate Women to attend the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis, at the University of Aston, UK.
Kevin Watson (Linguistics) gave an invited paper at the International Conference on Northern British English (12-13 May, Université de Rouen, France), called "Liverpool Dialect Literature: quantitative analysis and phonological salience." The paper was co-authored and presented by Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh).
In March this year, Linguistics launched the first round of a UC Linguistics competition.
School students from years 11-13 took part in a competition in schools solving Linguistics problems. The top 20 students from round 1 were invited to campus on Monday 5th May to take part in round 2. In the morning, they completed an ‘Amazing Linguistics Race’ – the students had to find linguistics problems, which were hidden in various parts of the university, and solve them in teams, before getting the clue to the whereabouts of the next puzzle. In the afternoon, they heard lectures from staff in Linguistics on sociolinguistics, the history of New Zealand English and forensic linguistics. The winners of the event - John McLachlan (Papanui High School), Maree Palmer and Alice Beesley (Avonside Girls High School), Rebecca Herman (Hagley Community College) and Samuel Bennett (Linwood High School) – received medals and book tokens. The winner of the round 1 competition (Rata Ingram, Hagley Community College) also received book tokens. Lots of fun was had by all. Some comments from the student evaluation forms include:
- “Thank you for a fantastic day! I really enjoyed it and all the lectures were really interesting”
- “Thank you for an enjoyable day. I shall be seriously considering taking linguistics next year”
- “It was a really cool event and I think a lot more people would want to do it after learning about how cool it was this year”
Beth Hume has been awarded RSNZ International Mobility Funding for her project “Predicting sounds patterns: A cross-linguistic theory of vowel epenthesis.” The funds will be used to bring Associate Professor Florian Jaeger (Univ. of Rochester, Brain & Cognitive Sciences) to UC to work on the joint research project.
Chapbook - Koenegracht, F. 2014. Selected poems. Translated by Sarah Hart and Koenraad Kuiper. Lyttleton: Cold Hub Press.
RSNZ International Mobility Funding - Beth Hume has been awarded RSNZ International Mobility Funding for her project “Predicting sounds patterns: A cross-linguistic theory of vowel epenthesis.” The funds will be used to bring Associate Professor Florian Jaeger (Univ. of Rochester, Brain & Cognitive Sciences) to UC to work on the joint research project.
Linguistics MA student Tim Connell has gained a Distinction for his MA thesis ‘A Sketch Grammar of Matéq: A Land Dayak language of West Kalimantan, Indonesia’. Tim’s MA research was supervised by Dr Heidi Quinn (Linguistics) and Prof Beth Hume (Linguistics), and supported by a UC Masters Scholarship, as well as a Gerhardt Laves Scholarship from the Australian Linguistic Society. Particular thanks to the Pusat Kajian Bahasa dan Budaya (Centre for Language and Culture Studies) at the Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya (Atma Jaya Catholic University) in Jakarta for acting as the local counterpart institution during Tim’s fieldwork in Indonesia.
High-school students from across Christchurch have competed in the first ever UC Linguistics competition. The top 20 students will be invited to campus on 5th May to take part in a day-long event where they will solve Linguistics problems and hear about some of the exciting work going on in the department on NZ English and forensic linguistics.
Congratulations to one of three Marsden grant winners in the College of Arts: Lynn Clark (Linguistics) on “Recency effects in spoken New Zealand English”.