6 votes

Trying to switch from Literature to Linguistics: similar experience and/or advices?

Hi! I've recently graduated as a BA of Italian philology. But I am interested in pursuing my further studies and academical career in linguistics, studying language contact and linguistic strata in particular. I was wondering if anybody took a similar path and am interested in advice from such folks and also any other humanists here. I'm studying some online material and will try to partecipate in some local university's linguistics BA as a visiting student (I guess it's called a freemover in English) if I can find an affordable option. Also I have found out recommended reading material from local universities I'm interested in and some papers about my field. Do you know of any useful resources for making the transition smoother? What has been you experience if you've taken a similar path to your studies? Thanks in advance!

2 comments

  1. [2]
    cadadr Link
    Somehow I stumbled upon this old question of mine. Having done what I asked help for (obviously did not get any answers, but even the upvotes were helpful, which I took as "hey, you're not alone...

    Somehow I stumbled upon this old question of mine. Having done what I asked help for (obviously did not get any answers, but even the upvotes were helpful, which I took as "hey, you're not alone in this!"), I want to briefly document my process.

    I have been studying since around when I made this post. My course has been roughly as such:

    • University of Leiden's Linguistics MOOC on Coursera. The excercises and homeworks were badly put together, but videos and other material were very useful for a broad albeit shallow overview of the main interests of the different fields of linguistics.
    • A few videos from around the web I collected into a playlist. Not all of them are really helpful, and I did not watch each and every one of them (but most). Was useful tho.
    • Select chapters from The Handbook of Linguistics eds. Aronoff, Rees-Miller. Was difficult for a beginner, but still incredibly informative. Most chapters are quite good at giving a neutral, multi-theoretical overview of the subdisciplines they document.
    • An Introduction to Language by Fromkin, Rodman, Hyams. A wonderful introductory textbook to the discipline. One major problem is though that it does not talk about non-mainstream theories. Does not really mention construction grammar, for example. But maybe more recent editions fix that (I had the seventh, from 2003 or 2004 IIRC). One great thing is that it has excercises after each chapter, which really help with comprehension.

    • For sociolinguistics, Language In Society by Suzanne Romaine (1994) is a good text, albeit possibly a bit out of date. I just finished this, and loved it.

    • I am currently reading Language Contact: An Introduction by Sarah G. Thomason, which is a well praised introductory text to contact and variation studies.

    • I am planning to read in near future:

      • Understanding Phonology by Gussenhoven and Jacobs, for a deeper understanding of phonology, one of the most elementary fields of research of the discipline.

      • Discourse and Identity by Benwell and Stokoe for a better understanding of discourse analysis in the context of identity.

      • Possibly: Construction Grammar and its Application to English by Martin Hilpert, which I discovered today, for a comprehensive introduction to the construction grammar theory. The author have published a playlist of video lectures that summarise what is found in the book.

    Hope it helps!

    1 vote
    1. alyaza Link Parent
      i'll add to this that the textbook Essentials of Linguistics by Catherine Anderson is particularly useful for those of you on a money crunch, since it's free, creative commons licensed, and web...

      i'll add to this that the textbook Essentials of Linguistics by Catherine Anderson is particularly useful for those of you on a money crunch, since it's free, creative commons licensed, and web accessible and covers a lot of the basic things that serve as the foundations of linguistics.

      1 vote