Know the Lingo: The latest Linguistics Blog from UWE

Contributor: Craig

What is Lingo? Lingo is the new blog for English Language and Linguistics at UWE. It is a staff and student collaboration to encourage communication and engagement with all matters affecting students of language and linguistics.

What’s it about? Lingo is a new hub for language events and news, what’s going on at UWE and in the world of language in general; shared experiences and advice about careers; features of interest relating to all kinds of language matters; and anything else to encourage debate and discussion to engage students with the wider cultural experience of language learning.

How you can be a part of it? We are looking for contributions from anyone with an interest in language and linguistics,particularly anyone who has studied it, or whose work is either linguistics or student-related. If you’re working on a particular project or have attended a conference, or you have some useful advice for students, we want to hear from you.

Who to contact? You can either contact me directly by email at craig3.evans@live.uwe.ac.uk, through Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/pub/craig-evans/65/59a/a88, or visit the Lingo ‘About’ page for further contact information.

Vice President of UWE Linguistics Soceity 2012-13

Contributor: Amy

What? Vice President of UWE Linguistics Society.

Why did you choose this place? I had been a member of the society since it was founded by Tom in 2011 (see related post) – I wanted to get more involved and see the society continue for another year.

How did you find the application process? Committee members are voted in at the society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). I didn’t have anyone stand against me for the position, so I was voted in!

What do you do here? I attend regular meetings with other committee members to plan and organise activities for the society. I have spent a lot of time researching different things to do in LingSoc and then going on to organise them. In my time so far as Vice President, I have been heavily involved in organising three trips, socials and other activities such as language games/scrabble nights.

The good things: I really enjoy organising things for the society and doing interesting things with like-minded people. Being involved in LingSoc has made uni a lot more fun, interesting and memorable for me. I have developed my organisation and teamwork skills (cheesy, but true!).

The bad things: Not much, except there are a few compulsory things that you have to do as a society with the SU, such as attending meetings.  Also I think that in a position like this, you get out of it what you put in, so you do have to commit time and effort.  As a voluntary position, you have to be motivated enough to do this!

Anything else we should know: If you are part of any society and are really interested in it, I would definitely recommend electing yourself as a committee member. Even though there are titles like ‘Secretary’, ‘President’ and ‘Treasurer’, in reality it is a team effort, you aren’t left to do it all on your own!

Work Placement – Peer Assisted Learning Leader for 2nd Year Linguistics Module – UWE Bristol

What? PAL Leader (Peer Assisted Learning) for Foundations in linguistics: semantics and pragmatics & syntax module at UWE, Bristol (University of the West of England)

Why did you choose this place? I wanted to get some work experience in teaching/mentoring and this seemed like a good opportunity. I also liked the fact that it was linked with my course.

How did you find the application process? I don’t remember much of it which suggests that it was probably quite easy. There was an online application to be filled out and during the summer they checked my academic results to see if I didn’t fail the module I was supposed to be mentoring.

What do you do here? I mentor a group of 3-12 second year students (depending on how many show up) who are on the same course like me but one year below (I am in my final year). I run a session per week to help them to reduce the workload and answer any questions they might have about the module and the course as a whole. I need to prepare my sessions each week and write a schedule. In the past we’ve done some reading and now towards the end of the term we’re focusing more on essay preparation. My role is not to answer their questions straight away but rather redirecting them towards the whole group and make sure that everyone is involved.

The good things: I get paid for the session which is good because we were told that it is not paid in the rest of the UK. It really challenges me in terms of time management and coming up with new ideas what to do in the sessions. I really enjoy working with the students, it is fascinating to see how everyone has a different style and pace of learning, yet how they all want to pursue the academic goals. PAL has also taken the nervous feeling off me whether I will ever be able to stand up in front of a group of people and try to transmit some knowledge to them.

The bad things: I don’t get paid for the time I spend on planning the sessions, which is about 1-2 hours per week. Even though I mentioned it as a challenge, time management is crucial and sometimes I am wondering how I am going to cope with PAL and my deadlines at the same time towards the end of the academic year. The trainings sometimes seem to be too long.

Anything else we should know? PAL is a really good experience. Even though it is not about “normal” teaching it still involves working with students and preparing a lesson plan. Don’t be put off by the trainings and how formal it all looks; at the end of the day, you will learn how to mentor and enjoy your sessions at the same time in your own way, yet being backed up by the PAL office team.

Volunteering – Creating UWE Linguistics Society

Contributor: Tom

Which Society?  UWE Linguistics Society

Why did you start the society? I tell people who I want to impress that I set it up because I passionately wanted to spread the good word of linguistics and increase student participation in extra-curricular academic events.

In reality I read this language log post about Edinburgh’s own LangSoc and thought “oh that’d be so cool if we had a society like that at UWE” and got a bit depressed that UWE didn’t have a linguistics society. A few days later I remembered that I was a lazy student who had loads of time to set up a society. I asked some students if they thought a linguistics society should exist, got some friends together to form a committee, a month later we were a proper official society!

What was your position? I was elected as president. To start with this meant I was responsible for nearly every aspect of running a society, but it got a lot easier as the committee grew.

Good things: We had some fantastic lectures and we went on some really fun trips. And I got to work with some brilliant mates and made even more brilliant mates too.

Also, because I ran a linguistic society, I was contacted by David Arnold, a student of the University of Edinburgh, who invited the society to the first Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain conference … but that’s another very long story… (click the link to find out!)

Bad things: People kept expecting me to be some kind of linguistics whizz-kid – which was a pity because I’m actually quite stupid. They’d be all like “Tom, you run the linguistics society, do you remember all the rules on Sanskrit morphology” and I’d be all like “no!” then they’d be all like “what about a brief history of marxism in linguistics” and I’d be like “how would I know that?!” then they’d say “oh but you’re the president of the linguistics society, surely you’d know” and then I would have to run away and hide in shame.

Also running a society (*cough* especially a twice-award-winning society *cough*) takes a lot of time – so you need to ensure you stay organised and not let it take over your life!

Anything else: If you’re at university studying linguistics and there isn’t a linguistics/language society near you, set one up! Make sure you’ve got some good people who are just as enthusiastic as you are to work with, and you’re good to go.

And if there is a society near you, get involved in any way that you can – it’s a great way to meet people and have fun, all while pretending you’re only doing it to beef up your CV.

Applying for courses – UWE BA English Language and Linguistics, UCL MSc Speech and Language Sciences

Contributor: Amie

What? I studied english language and linguistics at UWE and I am starting a masters in speech therapy at UCL next year.

Why did you choose this place? I chose UWE as it was the best university that provided this combination. The linguistics dept at that time was very strong with great staff. As for UCL, it is one of the best universities in the world. Although I’m dreading moving out of Bristol I am really excited to study there. I was very impressed with the facilities and staff there when I went for my interview. The student support in the SLT dept at UCL has also already been exemplary.

How did you find the application process? The application process for my undergrad was simple, and stress free. The masters was a lot harder, a lot more work, and expensive, which I did not expect. I was lucky and had a lot of support but I think it would be very difficult for someone who doesn’t have support from a person with experience in SLT.

What do you do here? When I graduated I worked in the English department of a secondary school, at TESOL summer schools, and then as an assistant speech therapist in a brain injury rehab unit. I now work as a learning support assistant in a special needs school with adolescents with profound and multiple disabilities.

The good things: intellectually challenging, linguistics can lead to many careers, SLT marries linguistics, medical science and public service perfectly

The bad things: linguistics can  lead to many careers!! slt is very competitive with a lack of universities offering the course, application process to SLT masters.

Anything else we should know: get work experience in anything that you feel could be relevant to your future career. This is the most important thing, more than the uni you go to, your degree mark (within reason), more than anything.

Work Placement – Student Ambassador – UWE

Contributor: Amy

Where? UWE
What? Student Ambassador
Why did you choose this place? I am a student at UWE and wanted to make the most of opportunities that are only available whilst at university before it is too late.
How did you find the application process? Easy. I had to fill in an online application form stating previous relevant experience and why I wanted to be an ambassador. Then I attended a group interview and training.
What do you do here? I help at events that happen at the university. I have assisted at graduation ceremonies, school visits to campus and generally directing people around the university. I helped over Freshers’ week, guiding Freshers around the university.
The good things: Good pay, flexibility (you are emailed different jobs and have the options of applying for it, or not. This was really good around exam time, as I wasn’t required to do a minimum number of shifts so I could concentrate on my studies), meeting other student ambassadors, working with a variety of people (school and college students, lecturers and academics, university staff) which I believe has improved my confidence in communicating with different people.
The bad things: The only bad thing I can think of is that getting shifts can sometimes be competitive as there are over 200 ambassadors at the university competing for the same jobs. However because I have never missed a shift, been late or haven’t pulled my weight, I am often chosen for the roles I apply for.
Anything else we should know: I would definitely recommend being a student ambassador!

Volunteering – Secretary – UWE Linguistic Society

Contributor: Antonia
Which Society? UWE Linguistics Society
Why did you get involved? I got involved because the position of secretary was free and I felt like I could have some fun taking on this opportunity and also get some experience. And I was right about that 🙂
What was your position? Secretary
What are your duties? Mostly COMMUNICATION – Inbox – sorting out what is (not) relevant for us (lots of spam); ensuring smooth communication among all committee members and also the Society’s members; organizing meetings – booking the rooms etc. – and the AGM; putting together all the documents for the SU
What has been your greatest achievement? The AGM was quite hard to organize… afterwards all the documents had to be filled out correctly and sent back to the SU in about a week’s time – so I am glad it all went well and we were able to elect a new committee for the next academic year 🙂
The good things: Being a member of the committee gave me so much experience! It gave me lots of insight into how the SU works and how it co-operates with the university itself. Also I had to opportunity to see how to run a student-organizes conference, invite your members to a trip and organize it. It taught me a big deal of tolerance towards others!
The bad things: When you are busy with your uni work and you are supposed to fulfil your secretary duties at the same time, it can be a bit stressful… Also my job is to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do – and on time – so basically I have to hassle people about deadlines etc. which is not a very nice thing to do…
Anything else you’d like to say?: I am really grateful that other members voted for me so that I can make a most of this! If I was just a regular member, I could never get so much insight into how the British student union is run…  I will take all that experience and memories back with me to the Czech Republic and I think I will try to make people more involved there and create something similar as what we’ve had in Bristol 🙂