Why Study Linguistics?

Few things surround us so fully in our busy lives as language. It is everywhere–helping us to interpret the world, allowing us to communicate with friends and strangers alike, and selling us things.

Linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of human language: what the rules in a language are, how children acquire language, how adults learn a second language, how language is represented in the brain, how language is produced and processed, and many other questions.

A degree in linguistics can provide you with valuable skills, even if you do not go on in linguistics. It develops written and verbal expression, logical reasoning, and critical thinking skills. Linguists go on to work in a variety of fields:

  • Foreign language teaching
  • Teaching English
  • Foreign Service
  • Intelligence services
  • Translation and materials development for less commonly taught languages
  • Journal and newspaper editing
  • Technical writing
  • Adult literacy and education
  • Speech pathology
  • Natural language processing
  • Automated speech recognition
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Preparing and evaluating standardized testing
  • Dictionary work
  • University-level teaching and research

See the Linguistic Society of America’s web pages on linguistics as a profession and Why major in Linguistics?