University of the West of England

From UWE to Otomi

by Russell McIntyre (Russell is a UWE graduate in Linguistics and Spanish)

I joined UWE in 2007 as a ‘mature’ student of Linguistics and Spanish. Note that ‘mature’ is a relative term in the student world: I was the ripe old age of 23. But I was clear about what I wanted, and that was to study. Not just anything, but my passion. Back then my passion was the Spanish language and I set myself the goal of reaching a native level within four years. The other half of my degree was Linguistics. I can’t specifically say what I initially hoped to gain from it, but I always had an interest in words, their usage, formation and interpretation. Wouldn’t we be like any other animal if it wasn’t for our ability to talk? Within the first semester I realised that it would be difficult to ever reach a truly native-like level in Spanish. At the same time, my interest in language was developing into much more than that – it was a passion, it was becoming an obsession. Continue reading


The value of humanities and social sciences: Petros Karatsareas

by Jeanette Sakel

Our British Academy (BA) Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Petros Karatsareas is appearing in a high profile video produced by the BA to strengthen the fields of humanities and social sciences. Petros talks about his research project and its impact – together with another 3 BA Postdoctoral Fellows:


Get involved in a BBC collaboration…

by Jeanette Sakel

Students of English Language (and Linguistics or English) are invited to take part in a BBC initiative as part of a food event (  You are invited to contribute to writing a BBC magazine and other social media publications. Following the initial launch meeting, there will be a workshop for students taking part – run by BBC producers of the festival which will provide them with additional training – no previous experience is necessary!

The project launch will take place: on Wednesday 19/2/2014 in 2S604, from 1400 to 1500.

This is a really great opportunity do something fun that looks amazing on your CV. Also, who knows where this initial experience will lead? Continue reading

Writing tip of the week

by Harriet Castor

In the main body of your essay (i.e. everything that’s not the introduction or the conclusion), it’s a good idea to start each paragraph with a sentence that makes a clear point in your argument. This point must be directly related to the essay question.

Remember, if you are writing about a piece of literature or an event in history, it is not enough to start your paragraph with a sentence that tells the reader what happened next, or that simply describes an event or a character. On its own, this is not a point in your argument. You must say something about that event or character that is relevant to the essay question. Then, in the rest of the paragraph, you can give examples or evidence to back up the point you have made.

For a confidential one-to-one session with me to work on your writing skills, email

I’m at Frenchay on Wednesdays and St Matthias on Thursdays.

Christmas competition!!

by Jeanette Sakel

The end of the term is almost upon us, as is Christmas (and for most of our students: busy time, getting those essays ready for hand-in). But why not spend a few minutes on something a bit lighter, more fun – and win a book on top?

For this year’s Christmas ‘competition’, we’re asking you (students, staff, alumni – also including our editorial panel, of course!) to write a short piece for UWELingo (say, 200 or so words) about what you like about Linguistics / English Language. You can say something about a specific topic (e.g. ‘the acquisition of negation’), or about your experience at university, our Linguistics Society and more!  Continue reading

Studying for a PGCE

by Luke Rudge

The phrase goes, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach,” but I’m pretty sure the person who created that phrase hasn’t taught a day in their life. As a graduate of Linguistics and French from the University of the West of England, and a current Secondary MFL PGCE student in the same institution, I aim to disprove this claim and maybe give you an idea of why pursuing a PGCE is one of the most satisfying, varied and challenging paths you can choose.  Continue reading

How to become a writer

by Harriet Castor

Essentially, I can’t answer this question.

 That was a short blog, wasn’t it?

 No – hang on. I can’t answer the question in terms of a step-by-step plan; I can’t give you a fail-safe route map to becoming a writer. After all, there are probably as many routes to becoming a writer as there are writers. Or almost.

 But… I think there are a few useful things I can say. Number one: it’s crucial to read (for pleasure – not just your course books!). To be more specific, read, read, read – and then read some more. If you don’t love reading – and, crucially, love reading the type of books/articles/poems (or whatever) that you’re hoping to write – then you need to have a long hard look at why you want to write.

Continue reading