Before graduating this summer, Vlad Mackevic (International Relations and English BSc) presented two papers to the national British Conference for Undergraduate Research (BCUR), both on topics within the field of linguistics. The conference, which was the first of its kind, included poster presentations, oral papers and workshops by undergraduates from across the country and a variety of disciplines.
Vlad presented his first paper, co-authored with former Aston graduate Leonid Mamin, which examined the language of modern emails and the perceived shift in form and structure. Vlad observed that as someone for whom their first language was not English, he was surprised by the often relaxed nature of emails, previously assuming they needed to be structured in a similar way to a formal letter.
Vlad said: ‘‘My work highlights that the general structure of emails is changing, increasingly correspondences are being formed in a way which is gradually moving closer to actual speech. With this perceived shift being caused by several factors, firstly the technological advances which mean that emails are often available 24 hours a day. As a result, a very high number of responses are increasingly becoming instant, with the exchange of information becoming more like a conversation."
The second paper Vlad presented was a solo study conducted during his placement year which examined authorship analysis, with the ultimate aim to one day be able to apply a suitable theory to things such as texts or notes.
Vlad hopes the success he has achieved so far can encourage future and current students to submit their own research to journals and conferences. They represent fantastic opportunities that are really beneficial for both students' work and confidence. In particular he would like to encourage students whose first language is not English to contribute in areas such as this, as he feels often they feel nervous due to the perceived language barrier.
Vlad said: ‘‘I think that Aston is a really inspirational place. It’s the work of the people here that is inspiring me to do what I do and to give it my best.’’ Adding that ‘’the opportunities that a university education gives are endless - but you need to stand up to reach them.’’
Vlad now hopes to gain some first-hand international linguistic experience within Europe. Whilst working as a freelance translator he will continue with his studies undertaking a Master's degree in Translation.
Words by Lawrence Heath
27 July 2011