Ellie Martin on her internship experience

Posted on August 27, 2019 by

Ellie Martin is an English Literature student, who spent a few weeks this summer working on a research project led by Marije van Hattum. Below is Ellie’s account of her experience.

My summer internship involved working with Marije van Hattum from the Linguistics Department on a corpus of threatening letters and notices from Ireland in the 19th century. Most of these notices concerned agricultural unrest and violence all around Ireland in the 19th century, concerning evictions, low pay and high rents, for example. My job entailed compiling an inventory of the letters with information about their provenance and then using a computer software system called VARD to create a standardised version of each letter, noting down any variations in language, grammar, and/or syntax.

Alongside my day-to-day duties Marije also gave me the opportunity to undertake some of my own research into the pseudonyms used in the threatening letters and notices. This has been challenging but really enjoyable and a valuable insight into academic research.

My summer internship has been a great experience. Although I am studying English Literature rather than Linguistics the internship has still provided me with an insight into a higher level of research and has made me much more confident and sure about applying to Masters programmes. It’s also been really interesting to explore a subject area that is not my specialism and, indeed, one that I have never explored before, and also to feel like I am having a direct input into a wider field of study. The knowledge I have gained from this internship, both linguistics specific and more general skills (e.g. undertaking independent research, time management, etc), I know will be invaluable to me going forward in my studies and I am really grateful for the opportunity.