Why do languages change? Why does your mobile device suggest funny completions for words you are typing? How did it happen that Finnish is spoken mostly in Finland, but its linguistic relatives are scattered over a larger area? How can you study a language that does not have a standard orthography? Why can you sometimes tell where other people come from just by their accent? Why do some people stick to their dialect, but others give it up when they move to the city? Should you try to support language diversity? Can we save languages that are spoken by a very small number of people? How can computer-synthesised speech be made to sound more human? Why do some languages seem so much more difficult to learn - are they inherently more complex?
This Master's programme will provide you with an understanding of the nature and diversity of human language and with the theoretical tools for working with language material. If you are interested in languages but are unable to decide which of them you want to study, this Master's programme offers several fields of specialisation. One of them might be just perfect for you.
During your studies, you will:
After completing your studies, you will be able to work independently in various fields that require multidisciplinary expertise in linguistic sciences. You will have the theoretical knowledge and skills that are required for postgraduate studies in the doctoral programme in language studies.
Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.
Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age is an integrated international programme that offers you a comprehensive view of all subfields of the science of language. As a student in the programme you will be able to choose among four specialist options: (1) General Linguistics, (2) Phonetics, (3) Language Technology, and (4) Diversity Linguistics.
General Linguistics gives you comprehensive in-depth training in a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to language structure and language in use. Special emphasis is put on language typology in a global perspective as well as the documentation and description of endangered and previously undocumented and under-documented forms of speech.
Phonetics will introduce you to the tools for working with the articulatory, acoustic and perceptional aspects of human speech from a multidisciplinary perspective. At the more advanced level, you will become acquainted with the methods of experimental phonetics.
Language Technology combines linguistics with digital technology in an interdisciplinary approach with close links to computer science. The focus areas include natural language processing (NLP) for morphologically rich languages, cross-lingual NLP and language technology in the humanities.
Diversity Linguistics encompasses all aspects of linguistic diversity in time and space, including historical linguistics as well as the extralinguistic context of languages: ethnicities, cultures and environments. The areal foci in Diversity Linguistics are Eurasia and Africa.
These four specialist options interact at all levels. There is a study module common to all students in the programme regardless of the specialist option they choose. The integration of these four perspectives into one programme is unique - no similar programme exists anywhere else.
In the context of “Humanities”, the programme has the closest relationship to natural sciences, and many subfields of the programme involve methods directly linked to laboratory sciences, including digital technology and neurosciences.
The teaching in the programme includes lectures and seminars, practical exercise sessions, reading circles, fieldwork excursions, as well as work practice (internship). The broad spectrum of teaching methods guarantees optimal support for your learning processes.
Visit the Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age - MA page on the University of Helsinki website for more details!
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