Elise Mcmellin

English Language and Linguistics - BA (Hons)

I came to the Open Day and asked a few lecturers to tell me about the course, and they were so enthusiastic about their subjects and their research!

Why did you choose English Language and Linguistics?

I have a real passion for language, how we process things in our mind and produce them mechanically in our mouth. It’s syntax, child language acquisition, phonology and language processing; all these aspects really interest me.

Why did you choose Kent?

It was partly the module choice. At Kent there is such a varied choice of modules, so you can tailor your degree to what you excel in. Also, I came to the Open Day and asked a few lecturers to tell me about the course, and they were so enthusiastic about their subjects and their research! So, I came here because it is so important to learn from lecturers who are passionate and at the forefront of innovation.

Can you remember how you felt when you first arrived?

I arrived partway through Welcome Week and I thought I would be behind with making friends, getting to know course mates and getting involved in activities. But, it was fine! I was straight in with going out and doing things, and this course has so many seminars of smaller groups of students, so you make friends really easily.

How is your course going?

I’m really enjoying it. I’ve loved the modules, and felt like I’ve had a lot of support from lecturers. I’ve particularly enjoyed modules such as phonetics, phonology, language acquisition and language processing. With these you learn about the many levels of communication, which a native speaker performs automatically. There are also modules in teaching second languages, writing in the media, pragmatics, and history of English, for example. So you could find yourself studying meaning, speech, the change of language, gender differences, analysing texts, teaching, language processing or even crafting pieces. I’ve loved it because I’ve learnt so much about so many different aspects of language.

What do you think of your lecturers?

They are really friendly, enthusiastic and so approachable. Our course is relatively small compared with others, so you get to know your lecturers quite well and they can offer you the individual help that you might need. They’re always saying, ‘Come to my office hours. Send me an email. Do you understand this? Are we all following? Has anyone got any issues?’ It’s amazing; they really care about your success.

What are the facilities like?

There’s a new linguistics lab available to students and also used by lecturers. It has a soundproofed room, which allows you to get recordings of speech that are uninfluenced by other sounds for your research projects. There’s an eye-tracking device too, which helps discover how the brain processes language, and there are other bookable lab rooms for students to use, if they need. You can take part in research all year round as a participant, but you can also be a research intern for lecturers. For example, in the summer term of my first year, I helped a lecturer collect materials for a research project using the eye-tracking equipment, which looked at the order in which we try to decode an utterance.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I’m currently applying for a Master’s in Speech and Language Therapy, ultimately to work with children who have phonological disorders. There is a lot of competition to get in but the careers advisers here at Kent have been fantastic. They have helped me refine my CV, polish my personal statements and run trial interviews.

Any advice for someone thinking of coming to Kent? 

Be ambitious. It’s a really safe place, with a lot of support, so you can really delve into interests. You have to have the courage to learn something that you don’t yet know anything about. You might find that your personality and the way your brain is wired magically click with modules that you didn’t even know existed. So – always be ambitious.