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
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
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.