Rhodes Ling graduate wins scholarship to EdinburghDate Released: Tue, 24 May 2011 09:53 +0200
Cathleen O'Grady, a high-flying graduate who completed two Honours degrees at Rhodes in one year (in Linguistics and Philosophy), has recently been awarded a Skye Foundation scholarship to do her Master's at Edinburgh University in Scotland. She will be studying towards a MSc in Evolution of Language and Cognition.
O'Grady is ecstatic to have found such a degree. She says, “My research interests in Linguistics
(phonetics / phonology, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and syntax) and my interests in Philosophy (Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science) seemed, for far too long, to be entirely disparate: having very little interest in Philosophy of Language, I was never quite sure how I was going to make my two passions 'talk' to each other. When I discovered the field of evolutionary linguistics and this MSc at Edinburgh, I realized that this was not only a field which would combine my chief interests, but also include my interest in evolution, as well as providing me with the opportunity to branch out into cognitive science.”
At the moment, Edinburgh University is the only place that offers an interdisciplinary Master's degree in the field of language evolution. O'Grady says “Although I would have gone anywhere in the world to do this course, it is obviously a huge bonus that it's in such a magnificent place, at such an excellent university.”
The course at Edinburgh starts on her birthday, in September. While she waits for it to start, O'Grady is getting some experience in teaching. However, she is really anxious to get back to her studies, saying “I've been missing it much more than I ever thought I would.”
The MSc in Evolution of Language and Cognition is a coursework degree, so O'Grady isn't sure exactly which areas she'll be researching yet. However, she says “I think I'd like to look at the possibility that consciousness and language require a similar set of cognitive abilities, and that by trying to understand the evolution of these abilities, we might be able to better understand the evolution of both language and consciousness.”