Linguistics is the study of human language and how people use language to communicate. Colleges and universities offer different kinds of courses in this discipline include the sentence structure, the history of language, phonetics, syntax, meaning (also called semantics), historical linguistics how people learn words and other elements of language. The field is extremely about understanding how language works and evolves rather than learning a specific language like Spanish or French. The discipline is also concerned with explaining how languages differ from each other.
- Understand Other Languages Better
Students who study this discipline understand the fundamental structures of language, sentences, and syntax. This knowledge lets you take apart languages and put them back together again. A deaf understanding of language also lets you think through foreign languages better. You might even learn new words and phrases faster for your next trip abroad.
- Learn How Dialects and Accents Develop
Explaining the development of accents, differences in pronunciations and speech patterns is one of the central, fascinating problems of this field. If you've ever confused by a British, Irish or Australian way of speaking English, linguistic studies can help you to understand that difference. Some linguistic majors even carry out experiments in their senior year under the supervision of their professors.
- Learn How To Communicate Better
Whether you are interested in a creative career or the business world, it is vital to communicate your ideas and contributions in a clear fashion. This discipline and related courses such as composition make students more disciplined in their writing. To improve your oral communication skills, consider joining an organization like Toastmaster's or your college's debating society.
- Teach Computers To Understand People Better
Computers are asked to understand and respond to people more and more every day. Unfortunately, most computers are very weak at understanding what people say and write. Language experts contribute their expertise to software projects and other systems so that systems can better respond to what people say, Linguistic expertise can also make computers and websites more responsive and efficient.
- Variety of Career Opportunities
Experts in language are in demand in numerous industries including research, teaching, computing and speech therapy. The transition to a knowledge economy fundamentally increases the value and importance of communication skills in the workplace and those who can work with words. The scientific method taught in these programs also equips students to make systematic observations and report on their findings. This kind of analytical rigor has application in finance, scientific research, business analysis and graduate level research. Beyond the technology industry, education offers the greatest variety of job opportunities. Students who earn doctor degrees can find work as college and university professors. Others can use their skills to work in English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors where knowledge of language acquisition will be particularly valuable. You can also teach people to use language more effectively whether they be actors interested in learning a new accident or injured people seeking to recover their speaking abilities.
Should You Double Major?
For intellectual challenge and career versatility, consider taking courses in a related discipline such as composition, psychology, English or computer science. Students that build up expertise in a foreign language can qualify to work as translators and interpreters. Computer science and statistics teach methods to analyze word usage and patterns; This is invaluable when analyzing large volumes of text and audio recordings. At the very least, linguistics students should take several courses in a widely used foreign language such as Spanish or French. In some instances, students are required to study a foreign language so check your program's requirements before you register in a class.
A Rose By Any Other Name …
Universities are fond of changing the names of departments and disciplines from time to time to reflect their priorities. If you can not find linguistics courses, do not give up! These courses can be based in other fields such as cognitive science, psychology, education and English. Ask your college advisor for assistance if you have trouble finding your way through the course catalog.