"My path to linguistics was not a classic one – if there is such a thing. That’s not a thing, right? Okay great. Before coming to Goldsmiths to study Sociocultural Linguistics I spent four years in an acting conservatory in New Jersey. My path was clear: I was going to be a professional actor. A professional actor who spent all of his free time reading books on accents and dialects and feeding his yet undiscovered desire to be a linguist. I had always loved language, but specifically accents and how they shaped identity.
After drama school I was ready to dig deeper in a different field of study. When I found the MA in Sociocultural Linguistics at Goldsmiths my interest was piqued. I was excited by the idea of being able to study language and culture in an international university, with students and lecturers from around the world. The year did not disappoint.
Strangely - though it is very clearly stated in the title of the course - I did not expect to feel like a linguist when I finished the course. I guess I thought I’d feel more like a Jane Goodall of language, observing it in its natural habitat and quietly noting its intricacies. Or maybe I thought I’d be more of a language Malcolm Gladwell, retelling clever stories from my obscure language adventures, illuminating the joys of language for all to share. Never have I been so pleased to be wrong. On this course I became a Linguist; one dedicated to exploring my own interests and passions with the knowledge and analytical skill gained on this MA.
Throughout the year you are given the tools to study language from the ground up. ‘Core Issues in English Language Linguistics’ explores language from phonology to pragmatics; investigating how and why language is structured. In the second term, ‘Language in its Sociocultural Context’ uses all that you have learned in the previous term to explore how language and culture interact and influence one another. In the first term I took the module ‘English in a Multilingual World’ which explored English as a lingua franca and the role colonisation plays in shaping the Englishes of the world. In the second term, “Analysing Discourse and Identity in Spoken Interaction,’ which was equally fascinating and explored the various means of analysing discourse and how identity is constructed in interaction.
I cannot praise the lecturers highly enough. They are brilliant, kind, thoughtful and present. The dissertation process was made much less daunting by their constant guidance and assistance. I would highly recommend the course to established linguists and linguists yet-unknown-to-themselves alike. I am now working professionally as an Accent and Dialect Coach in London theatre, TV, and Film and use the knowledge and research skills from my MA constantly."