MA Language Documentation and Description

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


Today, there are around 6-7,000 languages spoken in the world and it is widely agreed that at least half of those are under threat of extinction within 50 to 100 years. Language documentation is a new sub-discipline within linguistics that has emerged as a response to the growing crisis of language endangerment. It emphasises data collection methodologies, in two ways: first, in encouraging researchers to collect and record a wide range of linguistic phenomena in genuine communicative situations; and secondly, in its use of high-quality sound and video recording to make sure that the results are the best possible record of the language.

The MA programme in Language Documentation and Description is intended for students who wish to specialise in the documentation and description of languages, with a focus on minority and endangered languages. This specialist MA is characterised by an integrated core of subject offerings that are oriented around issues in language documentation and description, plus a series of options in linguistics, applied linguistics, and language studies.

The programme is formulated with two main pathways:

  • MA Language Documentation and Description [Language Support and Revitalisation] provides an introductory overview of the study of language as well as modules geared at enabling students to support endangered and minority language communities in a number of ways. This pathway is open to students with or without a background in linguistics.
  • MA Language Documentation and Description [Field Linguistics] provides students with a sound knowledge of state-of-the-art methods and technology for language documentation and description with an emphasis on endangered and minority languages. This pathway is open to students who already hold an undergraduate major in linguistics/applied linguistics or an MA in linguistics.

Structure

The MA Language Documentation and Description (LDD) consists of three components: core modules, optional modules and dissertation research. This degree programme is formulated with two different pathways; one specialising in Language Support and Revitalisation and the other specialising in Field Linguistics.

Regardless of the pathway they chose, all students must take 180 credits. They will take 60 credits as core modules, 60 credits on optional modules and submit a Masters dissertation worth 60 credits at the end of the year. The MA may be taken part-time, over two or three years, and there is a possibility for transferring between the two pathways for part-time students.

Dissertation

Compulsory for all students.

  • Dissertation in Linguistics

For students with no prior knowledge and study of linguistics

Core Modules

Students will take the following core modules:

  • Introduction to the Study of Language
  • Applied Language Documentation and Description
  • Research methods in linguistics 1

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the list below

And either

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the list below

or

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the postgraduate open options lists.

For students who can demonstrate prior knowledge and study of linguistics

Core Modules

Students will take the following core modules:

  • Applied Language Documentation and Description
  • Research methods in linguistics 1

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below.

Open Options

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the postgraduate open options lists.

List of Linguistics Modules (subject to availability)

  • Advanced Phonology
  • Advanced Syntax (Masters)
  • Descriptive Linguistics
  • Directed Readings in Linguistics/the Structure of Language A
  • Directed Readings in Linguistics/the Structure of Language B
  • Historical Linguistics (Masters)
  • Intercultural Communication and Interaction
  • Issues in Semantics (Masters)
  • Language Planning and Policy
  • Language support and revitalisation
  • Language, Society and Communication (Masters)
  • Linguistic Typology (Masters)
  • Translation Technology
  • Discourse and Pragmatics: Language in Use (PG)
  • Translating Cultures 1
  • Research methods in linguistics 2
  • Working with language consultants

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Upper-second class degree (or equivalent).

Interview Policy:

Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications usually invited.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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