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Free Sample Personal Statement in Linguistics

In connection with my application for acceptance into your Ph.D. program, I am enclosing the following statement concerning my life, professional activities, and tentative future plans.

I was born in Xiamen, Fujian Province in China on November 8, 1969. Later, my family moved to Beijing where I grew up. I am from a family of academics. My father is a professor of linguistics and Chief of the University Journal Agency of Beijing Language and Culture University (formerly Beijing Language Institute). My mother is a professor at the same university and teaches Chinese as a foreign language. From 1991 to 1993, my mother taught Chinese at Wittenberg University, Ohio and Indiana University at Bloomington. She encouraged me to apply for admission to advanced programs in the U.S.

I graduated from high school in 1988, and received the highest scores in my school at the National Entrance Examination for Universities. This made me an “Honor Student” at the national level. Upon acceptance to Beijing Language and Culture University, my major became English, with minors in linguistics, French and computer science. I was awarded consecutive scholarships for all four years in college. During my college years, I became more and more interested in linguistics.

My senior year was largely devoted to topics in linguistics, and my required thesis work focused on the influence of cultural and educational factors upon the Chinese and English languages.

After college, Beijing Science & Technology University employed me. For the first year and a half I was assigned to a project aimed at creating improved computer program for idiomatic English-Chinese & Chinese-English translations. This project proved me with considerable experience linguistics, and further improved my understanding of the subtleties of both English and Chinese.

Since the project completion, I have been teaching intensive English courses at Beijing Science and Technology University. Since July of 1993, I have taught English listening comprehension at Beijing Language and Culture University. The latter classes are part of a program that provides adult Chinese professionals with opportunity to improve their English.

My interest in linguistics is initially based on my desire to better comprehend the English language, and, in the process, learn more about my own language. China is now opening and engaging in ever expanding cultural and financial relations with the English-speaking countries of the West. It has struck me, as it may have occurred to many of my compatriots that negotiations to bring about these new and improved relations sometimes break down because of mutual ignorance about each other’s languages. I am aware that this has been a popular problem for study, among Americans engaging in business and other fields, but I am not aware of any serious attempt to research this problem from a Chinese point of view.

Through my work in the U.S., I would hope to contribute to a better understanding of the problems inherent in the deep differences between the two languages.

I recognize that a thesis project in most graduate schools is chosen after on has studied in various programs in a department and after extensive discussion with one’s professors. Nevertheless, I would hope that investigating socio-cultural differences between English and Chinese might be considered a suitable topic. Such a study would focus on the cultural, historical, traditional and educational factors, which influence the two languages, and significantly contribute to possible misinterpretations.

My long-term plan is to continue working on comparative aspects of English and Chinese linguistics. I strongly desire to work in an academic environment combining teaching, research and writing. I heard that your English/Linguistics Department has a reputation for academic excellence. I am applying to your program because I desire the best education possible for my professional career.


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