As a language learner and a language teacher, I always find myself thinking about the process of second language acquisition in a social context. Since my research interests center on socio- and Applied Linguistics, I hope to be accepted into your especially distinguished Ph.D. program in General Linguistics at XXXX University. Your program is my first choice because of its sheer excellence, and I am a good fit, given my academic and research interests. After earning my Master's Degree in Linguistics, I accepted an offer to serve as a lecturer in Linguistics at XXXX University. I was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. Degree in Linguistics at XXXX University. My central professional goal is to serve as a Linguistics professor in my country, Saudi Arabia, and devote myself to a lifetime of investigation into SLA for native speakers of Arabic. Earning a Ph.D. will help me further improve my language teaching and learning skills. Another reason that makes XXXX my first choice is that it has an Arabic department and offers Arabic as second language classes, which will significantly benefit me in collecting data for my investigations. Finally, after getting to know several Ph.D. students in your program, I found the overall environment of the department to be amicable, encouraging, and highly supportive. I share the research interests of several faculty members, and I am confident that my passion, curiosity, research experience, and enthusiasm will help me excel in your program.
I am particularly interested in research done by Dr. XXXX in sociolinguistics. It would be a special honor for me to contribute to studying one of her areas of expertise, second L2 dialect acquisition. I look forward to a whole immersion experience in L2 dialect acquisition among adult learners studying abroad. These L2 learners learned English in the UK, for example, and then moved to the USA to seek an advanced degree? To what extent do their L2 accents change? Does L2 dialect acquisition happen primarily inside or outside the classroom? To what extent is it a conscious process? And what is the social meaning attached to accents in L2? I am also most interested in investigating how and to what extent explicit and implicit feedback benefits L2 learners and how the proficiency level of adult learners affects the effectiveness of corrective feedback. I am engaged with how giving phonological instruction affects perception and production among adult L2 learners and what types of cues L2 speakers use to facilitate verbal comprehension. Extremely high on my list of priorities is an in-depth analysis of how semantic, morphological, and syntactic cues help map the meaning of phonologically ambiguous words.
I received comprehensive training in linguistics theory during my graduate study at XXXX University. I gained extensive research in SLA learning and teaching and a wide variety of sub-areas related to linguistics. The program was heavily geared towards research, vastly sharpening my research skills. For example, I analyzed the phonology of Saudi Pidgin and found that SLA theories helped explain the phonological processes in Saudi Pidgin Arabic. I also studied the syntax of Saudi Pidgin Arabic in Professor XXXX’s class. My research suggests that Saudi Pidgin Arabic emerged due to natural second language acquisition and did not represent a true pidgin. I will present my research this January at the Saudi Society of Linguistics Conference.
I have also investigated the New Najdi dialect, a term I use to describe the phonological and syntactic changes that occur in the Najdi dialect; for example, I analyzed The Negative Polarity item in Najdi Arabic in Professor Sylvia XXXX’s class. I argue that the noun our, which means 'age,' has been used recently as a negation if preceded or followed by the negative particle ma, which is ungrammatical in Standard Arabic. Previous studies argue that 'our' is an adverb. I say it is a negative polarity item, however, supported by the fact that adverbs cannot be attached with a pronominal suffix in Arabic.
During my enrollment in the TESL certificate program, I worked on designing a curriculum under the supervision of Professor XXXX, teaching language to mixed-level classes. I found what I learned before helpful when teaching English in an orphanage in Saudi Arabia. The lack of financial support from the government resulted in a chronic shortage of ESL teachers at the school, so the mixed classes were necessary; since then, I have read widely about teaching mix-level classes in undeveloped countries and refugee camps around the world, etc. I also had the opportunity to lead a TESL class in the EFL program at XXXX University under the supervision of Professor XXXX. I was teaching Arabic for one semester at XXXX University. I learned from teaching Arabic and English as a second language that facial expressions and hand movements help improve students' phonological perception of marked L2 sounds — for example, raising the hand when pronouncing a word with a long vowel. I also aspire to contribute to and enrich the existing literature on Arabic as a second language.
I am the first female among my relatives in a vast family with more than one hundred women who have earned a graduate degree and the first among males and females to study abroad earning a Ph.D. The degree will be a profound honor for all of us and an extraordinary honor for me to serve as a role model to others.
Thank you for considering my application for Ph.D. studies at XXXX University.