Joining our world-leading Language Evolution and Computation (LEC) research unit, you will investigate the origins and evolution of human language, tackling questions such as ‘what is it that makes us human?’, ‘how did our brains evolve?’ and ‘what are the origins of human language?’.
The LEC is at the cutting edge of research in this area and one of the world’s biggest research groups working on language evolution. You will have the opportunity to become involved with the unit’s research effort, and to make your own contribution to this dynamic field through your dissertation.
The programme focuses on a treatment of language as a dynamic evolving system, bringing together origins, acquisition and change.
It provides a broad introduction to the field of language evolution and cognitive evolution, and can form the basis for further (typically PhD) study for those wishing to continue their research.
The programme draws on many disciplines in the University, including archaeology, biology, linguistics, neuroscience, informatics, philosophy and psychology.
The programme involves two taught semesters and your own research dissertation. Four compulsory courses (in addition to the compulsory dissertation) provide a solid foundation, while optional courses allow you to explore your own areas of interest.
The taught element is delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical sessions. Assessment is by written/project work and examination.
Current Issues in Language Evolution
Foundations of Evolution
Origins and Evolution of Language
Option courses may include:
Brains and Cognition
Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing
Concepts and Categorisation
First Language Acquisition
Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Introduction to Statistics and Experimental Design
Introduction to Syntax
Linguistic Reconstruction and Language Classification
Psychology of Language Learning
Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R
You may also be able to take a course from other degree programmes in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, and in some cases from elsewhere in the University.
On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained:
a comprehensive synthesis of the most recent scientific findings relating to the origins and evolution of human language
a firm basis for subsequent advanced specialised research
a broad awareness of issues and findings in the evolution of language and cognitive evolution across participating single-subject disciplines
This programme provides solid grounding for further research in many associated areas, such as linguistics, cognitive sciences and human evolution.