Portrait of Elliot Holmes

Elliot Holmes

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a commuting student from Hebden Bridge who came to Leeds from Greenhead College in Huddersfield.  Academically, I have a keen interest in Linguistics and research in general and want to pursue a career as a lecturer and researcher in Linguistics.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

I am the first in my family to attend university so I was a little worried about leaving home – however, upon visiting the University and meeting the staff I don't think anywhere else would have made me happier. I loved the campus, the union, and the Linguistics department ever since the first open day I visited and I was determined to come here. What enticed me even more was the Access to Leeds scheme, which is designed to help students from low income backgrounds and those who are first in their family to attend University by lowering the entry grades. The Leeds Financial Scheme was another added help.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I discovered Linguistics through the English Language A-Level, where Child Language Acquisition and Language Change was taught. I was initially interested in English Literature, but the relatively new field of scientific research into language was immediately more enticing to me. I also developed an interest in researching Linguistics at A-Level, when I did an EPQ on the syntactic reasons for the relative success of Esperanto (an artificially created language designed to be easy to learn to allow cultures from around the world to communicate easier). The University allowed me to develop my interests in the subject even more, and through my first-year modules I narrowed my interests down to syntax - the study of the structure of language - and psycholinguistics - how language is processed in the mind. This ability to develop my interests and engage with an exciting and relatively new field of research is what makes me passionate about linguistics. 

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

The aspects of the course I've enjoyed the most have been developing new ideas, engaging with the field of research, and critically examining it with friends. As the year groups are so small, the course feels like a community after the first few weeks with everyone discussing ideas together, going out together, and doing work together. This is really helpful as it makes the academic environment more enjoyable as you get to develop your understanding of the concepts with others and give each other ideas and inspiration when it comes to essays and your dissertation. I have also really enjoyed finding my research interests and being allowed to develop this through modules and the dissertation, which is really helpful in gearing me towards my career goals to become a lecturer and researcher in linguistics. 

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

The most surprising thing for me has been how engaged and fascinated I've become in the subject. The modules on offer cover a great range of the areas in linguistics and allow you to experiment and discover where your interests lie, and this has helped me decide that I want to pursue a career in linguistics.

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

The learning facilities at the University are vast. The libraries have books on anything you could want to read about and the online access to journals ensures you can always find up to date research in the field. Furthermore, the Language Centre within the School is a great resource if you want to learn a language alongside your study no matter what level of proficiency you are!

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

To anyone thinking of applying to this course, I would say that this course really allows you to develop your specific interests. This is because the staff offer a wide range of expertise on many different areas of linguistics and never seem to pull you towards one area or another. Furthermore, the joint honours with English Language complements the course nicely: the subjects are interlinked, but not intrusively, allowing you to bring your knowledge from one side of the course to the other and develop different interests in both subjects. 

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

Now that I have finished my course, I have decided to apply for a Masters course to further my study. The skills and knowledge I have developed at the University have inspired me to apply for further study to pursue a career in lecturing and researching and have refined my interests to the area of computational linguistics. The University has also given me a deep understanding of the subject and has helped me develop myself into a capable student and helped me enter the world of research.