My name is Sybil Vachaudez. I'm a Franco-Portuguese student of linguistics at the University of Lisbon who is quite passionate about all things linguistics, and I recently got an offer of a place for the 2-year MPhil in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford.
As a child, I dreamed of being able to speak every language in the world, and during my adolescence, as I started to learn foreign languages, I began wondering about bilingualism, the relationship between different languages, and language variation. Soon after, I started gathering every book I could on linguistics and later decided to enrol in a bachelor's degree in Language Sciences. Because I was doing so well at university and seeing that I was developing some research experience as well, I decided to challenge myself and apply to Oxford's MPhil program in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics in the hopes of specializing in minority languages and I was lucky enough to be offered one of the twelve places available!
Now, as an adult and a student of linguistics, I aspire to work with minority languages to prevent them from going extinct.
Why do minority languages matter? Well, can you imagine having no one to speak to in your native language? Or not being able to speak the language of your grandparents? According to Ethnologue, there were 6,909 different languages in 2009. However, since then, several languages have gone extinct and, in as little as ten days, many more will be facing the same destiny. Minority languages matter because each language is a token of the possibilities of human language and a strong identity symbol for its speakers. By working with minority languages, I aim to join my passion for languages AND linguistics while also helping preserve different ways of seeing the world, different linguistic identities and the diversity that comes with all of this. I wish to carry research on minority languages to ensure that they are well documented and preserved so that people might speak them as their mother tongue or learn them as a foreign language.
However, due to Brexit, the tuition fees for European students at the University of Oxford have gone from 10k a year to around 30k (60k for 2 years). Besides that, Oxford students have to sign a contract according to which they are not allowed to work while studying, and there are very few funding resources for the Humanities in my home country (Portugal). As a result, it has been proving quite difficult to find funding sources for my master's, and I only have until the 30th of June to show that I can fund my master's and secure my place.
Therefore, I would like to appeal for any help you can give me to achieve my goal. I also ask you to please share this as much as possible!
Any exceeding money will go to http://www.endangeredlanguagefund.org/
Thank you so much! :)
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