Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you tell me more about the orientation of your programme?
- I'm interested in language teaching. Is this a good programme for me?
- What types of dissertation projects do students carry out?
- What are the entrance requirements?
- Are there English language requirements?
- When exactly does the programme begin and end?
- Can I do the degree part-time?
- Can I do some tutoring in the department?
- Can I work part time while on the programme?
- What do graduates of the programme typically do?
We study how we acquire, lose or change knowledge of our native or second language(s). Although there are many ways to approach this topic, our perspective is that of theoretical linguistics and cognitive psychology. That is, we investigate language acquisition, loss and change by analysing the speaker's knowledge state of the structure of the language (the organisation of sounds, words, sentences and meanings) and the way in which these structural properties are mentally processed.
No, developmental linguistics is not about language teaching or language education. If you are interested in these areas, we suggest the MSc in Language Teaching, MSc in Applied Linguistics, or MEd in TESOL.
Here are the titles of some recent dissertations:
- Word learning in preschoolers: Are bilingual 3-year-olds less guided by mutual exclusivity than their monolingual counterparts?
- Lexical-semantic development in a second language: Investigating the adjective 'different' in English and Japanese.
- Conversationl modifications and feedback in NS-NS and NS-NNS children's interaction.
- The perception of place cues in a second language.
- Post-lexical intonation use in early speech.
- Lexical context effects on speech perception in Chinese people with autistic traits.
- Suprasegmental effects on the perception of compound words and phrases by native and non-native English speakers.
- Music and language learning: L2 acquisition of Mandarin lexical tones.
- Developmental processes in the L2 mental lexicon: The acquisition of English prepositions by native speakers of Japanese.
- Crosslinguistic influence on the syntax/pragmatics interface: The grammatical subjects in the languages of an adult bilingual speaker of Macedonian and English.
- The nature of L2 learners' sentence processing.
Candidates should normally possess at least a good undergraduate degree (equivalent to a first or upper second class honours in the UK system) in linguistics, psychology or a related subject. However, we do consider applications from candidates with a very good degree in other areas.
Yes, for students whose first language is not English, documentary evidence of competence in both written and spoken English must be provided. It is extremely important that you have a good command of spoken and written English. In particular, if you are not comfortable with writing academic reports in English, we recommend you to try to improve your skills before arrival in Edinburgh. There are courses offered by the university that run a few weeks before the term starts.
It begins in mid-September and runs until the end of August the following calendar year.
Yes. We offer the option of completing the degree over two years. The coursework should be completed in 4 semesters, after which you work on your dissertation.
No. Departmental policy is for undergraduate tutoring only to be done by PhD students who have been a postgraduate member of the department for at least a year.
This is discouraged, as the workload of the programme is quite intense.
Most graduates pursue a PhD in a related area either in or outside Edinburgh (recent destinations include: Cambridge, UCL, MPI, Georgetown). Some others have obtained a position in a research centre (e.g., the National Centre for Languages, Northwestern University's Centre for Technology & Social Behaviour).