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Theresa Donohoe, MA in Sociolinguistics 2013-14

What are your research interests / what are you working on?

My research interests include sociophonetics, language and identity, and second language acquisition. My dissertation explores the influence of attitudes on dialect acquisition in a second language among members of the Polish community in York.

What is your favourite module and why?

My favourite module has been Phonological Variation and Change because we not only got to learn about the wide range of practical applications for sociophonetics, but also got to try out a variety of methods used by researchers, through our weekly lab session.

Why York rather than somewhere else?

York is one of only a few universities that offer a masters degree in Sociolinguistics. I liked that the programme offered the opportunity to build a foundation in core areas of linguistics, such as phonetics and syntax, as well as intensive research training, so that I could embark within months on my own research project. Moreover, the department houses a number of prominent researchers who are currently pursuing fascinating projects in sociolinguistics.

How has your experience at York broadened your horizons as a linguist?

Coming into the programme, I had relatively little formal training in linguistics. Although there's still a lot for me to learn, I now feel that I have both the knowledge and the technical skills necessary to pursue my own research, and to critically analyse the work of other researchers in the field.

What’s the level of support like from staff and the department as a whole, are they receptive to feedback?

Staff in the department are always eager to help students. All the teaching staff I have encountered have actively encouraged students to meet with them if they have any difficulty understanding the subject matter, or if they would like to receive detailed feedback on their work.

What has been your favourite aspect of living and studying at York so far?

It's been really enriching to be surrounded by such a multicultural student body - my course mates, housemates, and friends are all an international bunch, so I'm constantly learning from them.

What do you feel is the most important thing you will take away from your experience at York?

I've been inspired and enriched by getting to participate in the academic community within Language & Linguistic Science, where I've been able to interact with both fellow students and seasoned researchers who are committed not only to generating knowledge but also to sharing it.