You have asked yourself why we say “feet” naturally instead of “foots”? Alternatively, How do our mouths work to make a b sound different from a p? Alternatively, why we don’t say what we mean most of the times? These are the type of questions that linguists tackle on a day-to-day basis. Let’s learn about what exactly does a linguist do and what is the scope in this domain.
Most people think that one is a linguist if he/she speaks many languages and works as a language teacher or as a translator. “Polyglots” is a more accurate term for these people. While many linguists may be polyglots, at the heart of linguistics is the structure, psychology, and use of language overall.
It deals with communication and the nature of language. It is concerned both with the study of particular words, and the search for properties that are common in all languages or a group of languages. Following subareas are taken into consideration when analyzing a language:
- phonetics (the study of the creating, hearing and acoustics of speech sounds)
- morphology (the structure of words)
- phonology (the patterning of sounds)
- syntax (the formation of sentences)
- pragmatics (language in context)
- semantics (meaning)
Why Study It?
A student can choose from a wide selection of different careers. Below are some of these paths. It’s always good to consult with an undergraduate counselor when choosing a career path.
B.A. only careers
- Have a B.A. and become an English teacher in another country. Many students pursue teaching in countries such as Japan or Russia.
- Have a B.A. along with fluent multilingual skills, and become a translator.
- Have a B.A. in Linguistics, along with a group of computer science courses, and earn a position in a company like IBM, or Microsoft to create computers that can understand and produce human languages. For example, the demand for people with such backgrounds has exploded, and the need for linguists are high.
B.A. With 2-3 Years of Additional Graduate Training
- Earn a B.A. and go on for a Masters degree in education to teach English as a second language or a foreign language in an American school.
- Have a B.A. and go on for a graduate degree in another field. For example, law school. Linguistics teaches excellent writing and analytic skills needed in areas like law and journalism.
B.A. With 4-5 Years of Added Graduate Training
- Have a B.A. and go on for a Ph.D. in the domain to teach at a school, college, or university or to work in language-related industry (like editing, software development).
- Have a B.A. in Linguistics, combined with courses of computer sciences, psychology or philosophy, and apply for a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science to teach at a university or college or to work on problems involving language and artificial intelligence in the industry.