A Day in the Life of a Linguistics Student

When I first came to visit the University of York, look around the campus and test out some of the student union cafés, I didn’t really know what linguistics actually was. I’d been recommended it by a teacher at my college but she hadn’t said much more than “it’s a lot about language, you’ll love it!”

I did do my research before coming to a decision (of course!) but in my opinion, the only real way to get a taste for a linguistics degree is to experience it first-hand! So welcome to, a day in the life of Pollyanna, a second year English Language and Linguistics student.

10.00am – first lecture in 1 hour!

The time of your lectures are will depend on your timetable. Yours will differ to everyone else on your course, especially as you continue your degree and pick the modules you are particularly interested in. In first year your modules are largely chosen for you, giving you a flavour of lots of different things to help you figure out what you want to pick in second year. Oh and also you will have 9.00am’s occasionally, sorry!

11.00am – Language Turn and Sequence Lecture

In second year we had two modules for Autumn Term (one compulsory and one own choice) and then four modules for Spring/Summer Term (one compulsory and three own choice). One module that I’m really enjoying this term is Language Turn and Sequence. We have a one-hour lecture and a two-hour practical each week, looking at the structure of conversation in different environments. The lecture on Tuesday morning is a small group of about 35 students all listening to our lecturer on a topic we’ve done reading preparation for. In the practical the following morning we go over exercises that were set from the lecture and discuss further reading.

Mmmm look at that burger

12.00 noon – Time for an early lunch

Working out little breaks for yourself during the day is really important so that you can stay alert (and awake!) in each lecture. Tuesday is a busy day for me with three lectures fairly close to each other, so I often bring a packed lunch to campus or head to a York University Student Union (YUSU) café/bar for lunch. Today I went to Courtyard and had a well-deserved chicken burger!

2.00pm – Intermediate Syntax Lecture

All students taking pure linguistics (and most taking linguistics as a part of a joint degree) have to take Introduction to Syntax in their first year. I remember my lecturer last year saying this module really is like marmite: you absolutely love it or you sickeningly hate it! Luckily, as you can probably tell by the fact that I carried it on, I love it! In second year you have an hour seminar and an hour lecture every week. You listen to new ideas and theories in the lecture, ready to discuss exercises in the seminars. Syntax is largely theoretical but very systematic: I’d highly recommend it for those who are logical and love problem-solving.

3.00pm – Law and Language Seminar

One really nice thing that lots of courses at York offer is the opportunity to take an elective. An elective is a module from another department that you take as credit for your own degree. Law and Language is a module based in the Law School and available to both linguistics and law students. It’s all about how language is used in legal contexts like documentation, court rooms and trademarking. It’s really nice to get a taste for something different for 2 hours each week, but also really challenging as the majority of the work is self-taught from readings and research.

5.00pm – Time to head home

All lectures officially finish at 6.00pm on campus, but sometimes you’ll get days when you finish earlier. I’m living quite close to campus this year so it’s nice being able to walk home at 5.00pm ready to make dinner before I have to head out for a rehearsal!

7.00pm – Fiddler on the Roof Rehearsal

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Our first meet and greet for Fiddler on the Roof!

You probably know by now that I absolutely love getting involved in every opportunity possible at university. One thing I’ve been working really hard on this term is producing a show for the Drama Society.

Producing is something I’d never done before but it’s really played to my strengths and given me a great idea of the kind of careers I’d like to look in to. It involves a lot of people skills, admin tasks (like emails, timetabling, health and safety forms, etc) and budgeting.

The performance is in the penultimate week of Spring Term. I’ll be very sad when it’s all over after such a tough term working so hard!

10.30pm – Time for Netflix and Bed

I’m not going to lie, I often finish my night off with an episode (or two) of Pretty Little Liars but soon I’m off to bed ready for one of those horrible 9.00am’s the following morning. It’s not all bad though, at least it’s for one of my favourite modules!

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Hello! I'm a second year English Language and Linguistics student passionate about performance, speech and volunteering! I love writing, acting and singing and I'm best described as "aggressively friendly"!