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What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of human language. Linguists are interested in uncovering the knowledge that underlies the use, production, and understanding of language in individuals and in human society.

What Can Linguistics Offer Me?

Students trained in linguistics acquire superior thinking, analyzing, observing, and problem-solving skills. They are good at gathering information, seeing connections, working independently, and writing and thinking coherently.

They also put those skills to work on a variety of self-directed projects. In LING3630 (Language and Linguistic Theory), major Cady Ennis created a language (Shirpag) and its creation myth:

Is Linguistics Right for Me?

Students find linguistics attractive for many reasons:

  • Some have always enjoyed studying English or foreign languages and want the challenge of understanding intricacies of linguistic structure and language usage.
  • Some are intrigued by the message of linguistics that all human languages and dialects are equally worthy of study, even though some speech varieties may be stigmatized by certain groups in society.
  • Some like to play with words and solve puzzles so that they are fascinated by the fundamental question of how language is accomplished by the human mind.
  • Some enjoy science and are pleasantly surprised that a science approach to language offers a rewarding window to human behavior.

Future Graduates and Job Opportunities

Graduates with linguistics training work in information technology, business, publishing, research, and education. Linguists work to make computers understand and respond to human language, for example in developing speech recognition and speaker verification systems, and designing data mining applications such as weeding out unsolicited email. They develop successful company and product names, such as Pentium, and help to design marketing solutions. Linguists contribute to making dictionaries and they take up careers as readers, writers and editors in the publishing industry.

Linguists are skilled at explaining and understanding language and linguistic interaction in society, opening up many career paths in education. As language experts, linguists are employed to create and review standardized tests of verbal skills. Training in linguistics is also a great advantage for a wide range of pre-professional studies including speech therapy and law.

Applied Linguistics/TESOL Online Graduate Certificate

You might also be interested in the online graduate certificate in Applied Linguistics/TESOL offered jointly through the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Education. Individuals applying for a graduate certificate in Applied Linguistics/TESOL should have an interest in education and language study developed through such disciplines as education, English, foreign languages, linguistics, writing, or complementary areas in the humanities or social sciences.

This 18-hour online certificate program prepares students to:

  • teach English as a second or additional language worldwide,
  • take a leadership role in curriculum development, assessment, and administration of English language programs, and
  • continue advanced graduate studies in language education and assessment.

For more information about the certificate, please visit this page.

Concentration in Applied Linguistics

For information about the concentration (18 hours) in Applied Linguistics, click here.

Last updated: 7/21/2020