Portrait of Alison Durham

Alison Durham

I became interested in Linguistics and Phonetics whilst studying my A-level English Language and Literature. I found many aspects of language particularly interesting, predominantly those things that are taken for granted, such as how a powerful text is constructed or how we learn to speak.

The course at Leeds was just what I was looking for – there was plenty of flexibility to tailor the course to meet your own particular interests. Personally, I liked aspects such as developmental disorders and the impact that Autism has upon language features. I was surprised by just how broad the course was, whilst at the same time offering numerous modules in each area, so that you could gain an in-depth knowledge within a specific area.

One of the best things about the course at Leeds would have to be the staff, they were never short of advice and their passion and enthusiasm for their subject areas meant that you were always engaged and interested. The staff have specialist fields and on-going research which means they are always looking at the progression of Linguistics and Phonetics and new developments, which is a real benefit to students.

The facilities at the University and within the School are also very impressive. The wide range of reading available through the numerous libraries, as well as online resources that students are given access to, all mean that you can be well-read on areas within your subject.

Although Leeds might be a big university, the Linguistics and Phonetics department is reasonably small and you get to know most lecturers and other students on your course within a relatively short space of time. Lecturers and personal tutors take the time to help students wherever they can and the fact that it is a smaller department is definitely a positive as it gives a more personal feel.

Also within department, the Phonetics lab in particular is a real advantage for students, where you can have access to specialist software to assist in your learning, something that comes in very useful when studying for Phonetics exams.

Now I have graduated I am working for a distance learning company who specialise in offering degree programmes on a part-time basis, making programmes suitable for those who cannot give up full-time work to study. My time at Leeds has helped me gain an insight which is very useful in this work, as I now know how rewarding it can be to study and so helping others in achieving their goals is something that I am very keen to do.