Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age (LingDa) / Linguistic Diversity and Digital Humanities (LingDig)
Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age is an integrated international programme that offers you a comprehensive view of all subfields of the science of language.
From 1 August 2020 the name of the programme is Linguistic Diversity and Digital Humanities, and the study tracks are: general linguistics, phonetics, language technology, digital humanities and cognitive science.
The Master’s programme in Linguistic Diversity and Digital Humanities includes five study tracks. You have chosen one of them when applying to the programme, but in the common studies and your elective studies you can include courses from the other study tracks as well as from other Master’s programmes.
General Linguistics gives you comprehensive in-depth training in a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to language structure and language in use. Special emphasis is put on language typology in a global perspective as well as the documentation and description of endangered and previously undocumented and under-documented forms of speech.
General Linguistics broadens and deepens your training in a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to language structure and language in use. Special emphasis is put on linguistic diversity including language typology in a global perspective as well as the documentation and description of endangered and previously undocumented and under-documented forms of speech. Our view encompasses all aspects of linguistic diversity in time and space, including historical linguistics as well as the extralinguistic context of languages: ethnicities, cultures and environments. The areal foci are Eurasia and Africa.
General linguistics supports a broad range of theoretical and methodological approaches to language. Our focus is on language description and typology in a global perspective. In language description, we emphasise the documentation and grammatical description of endangered and previously under-documented languages. Typological research examines patterns of cross-linguistic variation in order to understand the general regularities governing the structure and functioning of human language. We investigate the diversity of human language by looking at languages and speaker communities through time and space, combining language description with historical-comparative linguistics, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics and cultural history. This approach fosters understanding of linguistic diversity and its maintenance under various conditions.
Phonetics is the science of speech. Speech can be investigated as a motor-cognitive ability or skill, as an acoustic signal, or as a perceptual phenomenon. The training as a phonetician involves a broad range of fields, both applied and research-oriented. Phonetic research is often multidisciplinary, combining general phonetics with speech technology, acoustics, linguistics, language technology, language education, psychology and neuroscience.
Phonetics will introduce you to the tools for working with the articulatory, acoustic and perceptual aspects of human speech from a multidisciplinary perspective. At the more advanced level, you will become acquainted with the methods of experimental phonetics. The discipline deals with all aspects of human speech, including spoken language, emotion, as well as other para- and extra-linguistic factors. Through the courses, you will become acquainted with the methods of experimental phonetics and speech synthesis. Most courses in phonetics are taught jointly with the researchers in the Phonetics and Speech Synthesis research group. The group's research focus is on speech prosody.
Language Technology combines linguistics with digital technology in an interdisciplinary approach with close links to computer science. The focus areas include natural language processing (NLP) for morphologically rich languages, cross-lingual NLP and language technology in the humanities.
Language Technology focuses on the development of models and tools that can process and generate human languages, The field combines linguistics and computer science in an interdisciplinary approach with close links to machine learning and research in artificial intelligence. The study track includes fundamental models of morphology, syntax and semantics and emphasises cross-lingual natural language processing and language technology in the humanities. Our courses are closely related to research in the department integrating students in on-going projects and developments.
The core of language technology is the development of computational models and algorithms that can process and produce human languages. Building machines that can understand and generate language requires knowledge of the properties and structures of human languages and how they can be implemented in formal models or learned from data. For this, language technology combines findings from linguistics, computer science and various related fields. Students in this track will learn the essential building blocks for the development of natural language processing systems. We focus on multilingual and cross-lingual approaches and emphasise modern techniques based on machine learning and data-oriented algorithms. We cover the theoretical foundations as well as practical applications such as machine translation and data mining. Language technology has a growing impact on the modern digital society and experts in the field are widely needed on the job market. We strive for a strong connection between teaching, research and development to prepare students for their future careers.
Diversity Linguistics encompasses all aspects of linguistic diversity in time and space, including historical linguistics as well as the extralinguistic context of languages: ethnicities, cultures and environments. The areal foci in Diversity Linguistics are Eurasia and Africa. (Diversity Linguistics as a study track is ending on 31 July 2020. Current diversity linguistics students can finish their MA degree during the transition period that starts on 1 August 2020)
Cognitive Science is the multidisciplinary study of the mind. It studies the information-processing that is the basis of all intelligent behaviour, including perception, attention, learning and memory, concepts and language. Most studied is the cognition of adult humans - but cognitive development, animal cognition and the similarities and differences in human and Artificial Intelligence also belong to cognitive science, as do the fundamental philosophical, theoretical and methodological issues in understanding the mind.
Cognitive scientists use a variety of techniques (experimental measurements, surveys and interviews, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, computational modelling) to study the mind, brain and behavior. Our teaching goal to develop "full stack scientists" with a good feel for how the elements of a research program integrate: defining theoretical concepts, design of an experimental paradigm, signal analysis and statistical and computational modelling, and how these finally express the theoretical ideas. The Cognitive Science teaching tradition in Helsinki is fairly un-hierarchical and informal, but demanding.
Digital humanities (DH) is a scholarly field situated in-between divergent research cultures and approaches. It incorporates both humanities research based on computer-assisted methods, and the humanities-based study of digital cultures. Most typically DH refers to the use of data science within the realm of SSH research.
Computers and data processing are changing also the scholarship in humanities and social science. Digital humanities is a multidisciplinary undertaking with a broad range of methods applied to different humanities research questions. Different aspects of open science and new forms of academic collaboration are at the core of our teaching philosophy. The focus areas include use of language technology and data science in the humanities and the study of digital cultures.
Collaboration within the programme
These five study tracks interact at all levels, starting with an introductory course common to all students, bringing together the perspectives of all five study tracks. Taking courses across study tracks is made easy. The integration of these five disciplines into one programme is unique - no similar programme exists anywhere else.
In the context of humanities, the programme has the closest relationship to natural sciences, and many subfields of the programme involve methods directly linked to laboratory sciences, including digital technology and neurosciences.
The teaching in the programme includes lectures and seminars, practical exercise sessions, reading circles, fieldwork excursions, as well as work practice (internship). The broad spectrum of teaching methods guarantees optimal support for your learning processes.
Every spring, the programme organizes a student conference.
Structure of the degree
The scope of the Master of Arts degree is 120 credits (ECTS), to be completed in two years of full-time studies. The language of instruction in the LingDig programme is English and it contains the following studies:
- Studies common to all students in the programme (30 credits); this includes a 10-credit introductory course and 20 credits chosen from a common list of courses.
- Advanced studies in your study track (30 credits)
- Elective studies (30 credits)
- MA thesis (30 credits)
Your elective studies may include modules offered either by the other study tracks within this Master's programme or by other programmes within the University of Helsinki. Examples of modules offered by other programmes include Indigenous studies and computer science. Courses offered by other universities can also be included here.
The studies in your own study track, as well as the elective studies, can include study abroad (e.g. student exchange) and work practice or other working life oriented study units. Working life and career development perspectives are integrated into many of the courses.