Reflections on a degree in Linguistics

I graduated from my degree, a BA Linguistics at UCL, this summer (with a 2:1). It feels a bit weird to have come back from something so academic, into a world which barely understands what linguistics is.

So, over the next few weeks, I plan to publish some of the essays that I ploughed so much time and energy into, and to reflect back on different aspects of the course.

Today, I can point you towards to essays I wrote for 'pramatics' courses, the study of how we communicate meaning, over and above the words we say. The first, Kaplan's Indexicals, looks at how the meaning of words like 'I', 'here' and 'now' might work (it's more complicated than you'll think). This issue is as much philosophy as it semantics.

The second essay, The Metaphysical Function of Concepts, is even more philosophical, and looks at the borderline between metaphyics and epistemology (the study of how we acquire knowledge). Is there really, in the world, something which makes a gold gold - or is it just that humans like to classify things?

Both essays, I can smugly report, got top marks. But above that, I'm proud of the way I covered the issues, and the arguments that I advanced. So, have a read, and let me know if you can make any sense of them!