Our research students – Linguistics & Languages
We welcome applications from students wishing to complete an MA or PhD in Linguistics or Applied Linguistics. The route to a research degree is generally through a taught Postgraduate Diploma. Please see the relevant pages for further details of the taught programmes.
Thinking of applying to be a research student?
- Look through our priority research areas to see which types of project we particularly encourage. You might also like to look through the profiles of current and recent research students.
- Look at the profiles of staff members in Linguistics and Languages, to identify a potential supervisor in your area of interest, and find out more about their own research. Get in touch with them via email to discuss your interests.
- Through informal discussions with a potential supervisor (usually involving at least one face-to-face or zoom meeting), you will shape your ideas into a research intent.
- Submit a completed application for admission (postgraduate), which includes your research intent, along with a CV, transcripts and other important documents. Please check that you enclose all the necessary documents when applying.
Information for Current Research Students
- Research students work with a principal supervisor, and often one or more secondary or associate supervisors. Your supervisor should be your first port of call with questions regarding your studies.
- For administrative queries, you may also sometimes need to contact the Administrative Assistant for SPACE (Ms Temalesi Waqainabete).
Current research students
Roshila Singh is working towards a PhD in Applied Linguistics. Her study attempts to document academic literacy practices in USP’s learning and teaching environments. It will reveal how these practices are engaged by the teaching staff and students as part of the process of academic socialisation into degree-level studies through the medium of English. At the heart of the study is the urge to understand what the university collectively means by ‘English proficiency’. Roshila is currently part of USP’s Student Learning Support team.
Sandhya Kumari is working on her MA Linguistics and she investigates lexical variation in the Kiribati and Banaban dialects. This research is vital in developing an in-depth description of the Banaban dialect, which has not received much attention so far. Since minority groups and languages of the Pacific are under described, this research will fill a gap in the sociolinguistic studies of the Pacific Islands. Sandhya also personally believes that this research will provide a much clearer picture about her identity as a speaker of the Banaban dialect. She is currently a Graduate Assistant in SPACE, funded by a PSERI scholarship.
Shaleshni Prasad, enrolled on an MA in Applied Linguistics, is investigating the role of oral speaking skills within the learning of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). The research involves an experimental case study design with a cohort of UU114 students at Lautoka Campus, examining whether EAP teaching can be enhanced through the addition of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) activities to the regular curriculum. Shaleshni has been teaching for eight years, including EAP at USP and the University of Fiji, English as a second/foreign language in New Caledonia, and French as a foreign language at the University of Fiji.
Recently completed theses
Bhagirati Bhan completed his MA (SRP) in Linguistics in 2021. He investigated codeswitching between Standard Hindi and Fiji Hindi in formal religious settings in Navua. Bhagirati is a teaching assistant in SPACE, currently teaching both Hindi Studies and English for Academic Purposes.
Evangeline Christina Narayan completed her MA (SRP) in Applied Linguistics in 2021. Her study “In search of principles of second language acquisition in the design and unpacking of Fiji’s English syllabus” used a framework by Nation and Macalister (2010) to analyse syllabus documents, teaching materials and LTPs. She examined the extent to which these texts, and the process through which they were unpacked by teachers, were based on principles of effective second language acquisition.
Svetlana Afuhaamango completed her MA Linguistics thesis in 2021. In the study “Uniqueness of Emphatic Possessive Pronouns in Tongan”, she researched semantic variations of emphatic possessive pronouns, pronominal adjectives and benefactive pronouns. The research also identified the characteristics of emphasis of each of the possessive types. It has previously been observed that one category of benefactive pronouns – adverbial possessives – is very rare in usage. In fact its rapid extinction makes it difficult to find its exact connotations. The work therefore helps to determine whether change is in progress or just a slight shift towards using a few types only. Svetlana teaches French and Humanities at the International School, Nadi in Fiji.
Wilfred Fimone completed his MA in Linguistics in 2020, and was awarded the gold medal for the best MA thesis submitted in 2020 across USP. His thesis titled “Language variation and change in Suva Rotuman” examined the social and linguistic constraints of glottal stop deletion in onset and coda deletion. Some important findings were assimilation driving deletion, change-in-progress towards glottal stop retention, and the prestige variant (glottal retention) favoured by women – confirming theories and findings of sociolinguistic studies on urban speech communities. Wilfred is a teaching assistant in SPACE, currently teaching English for Academic Purposes.
Research theses completed in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics since 2000