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Linguistics and Joint Schools

Somerville’s Linguistics community includes undergraduates, postgraduates, and tutors from diverse backgrounds studying language from a range of perspectives.

Linguistics is the systematic, scientific study of human language, its structure, and its uses. Linguists study many different aspects of language including sounds, words, sentence structure, and meaning. A linguist’s work may be concerned with language in general or the features of a particular language or group of languages.

Somerville admits undergraduates to read the following degrees:

Modern Languages and Linguistics (MLL):

French and Linguistics, German and Linguistics, Italian and Linguistics, Russian and Linguistics, Spanish and Linguistics, and Beginners’ Italian and Linguistics. See also Modern Languages and Joint Schools.

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL)

It is not possible to study Linguistics on its own at Oxford at the undergraduate level. Full details of particular courses can be found on the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics’ website.

MLL: You can study Linguistics with a Modern Language that you already know, in which case you would usually be expected to have studied the language to A-level or another academic equivalent. Alternatively, it is also possible to study Beginners’ Italian and Linguistics at Somerville.

PPL: At Somerville, students apply for admission to read Psychology and Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Linguistics. The range of topics in Linguistics in this degree is not substantially different from that in the MLL degree, except that PPL students are not required to study the Linguistics of a specific European language. See also Philosophy and Joint Schools.

In the first year of your course, you will be taught in tutorials (2–3 students) and small classes (4–6 students), and will attend lectures given by members of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics. Beyond the first year, you will be matched with the University’s experts in your chosen subjects, regardless of the college at which they are based.

In Linguistics, tutors are looking for evidence of aptitude for the work that the course involves, such as analysing data precisely and accurately. Applicants are not expected to have studied Linguistics before, but are expected to be familiar with at least some of the broad aims and range of Linguistics as a discipline. All successful applicants are admitted for a course jointly with another subject and therefore must satisfy the requirements for that subject too.

Somerville currently has two Tutors in Linguistics, as well as a Senior Research Fellow, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Lecturer in Linguistics. Their research interests include syntax, morphology, phonology, phonetics, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, typology, and language contact. They work with data from a wide range of languages such as Breton, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, and Latin.

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