Linguistics is all about the scientific study of language as a form of communication and about its place in society. It is an ideal subject to study if you are passionate about the process of communicating, as it will give you an insight into one of the most intriguing aspects of human knowledge and behaviour and at the same time expose you to a range of fascinating disciplines.
On a course you will research the nature and development of language, and how it is acquired and used. Students will build an understanding of how adults and children learn language, how it can change over time, and how language can be used to shape and develop ideas and opinions.
It is a highly analytical field that gives students the chance to dig beneath the surface of the meaning of words, and will help them to develop excellent spoken and written communication skills.
Linguistics is a good field to prepare students for any job where general knowledge about language, or skills in one or more foreign languages are useful. Like any general undergraduate degree program its does not provide professional training for a specific career, however it does provide many general types of skills which are applicable to a broad range of career fields.
Students will gain the basic abilities and experience needed to prepare their entry into a variety of professional roles, such as; speech and language therapy, lexicography, translation, and teaching English as a first or foreign language. The application of the transferable skills you learn can also be very broad, and a background in linguistics is useful in diverse fields such as education, library science, artificial intelligence, psychology, and cognitive science.
Linguistics degree course overview
Linguistics is, broadly ’speaking’ the scientific study of language, with many topics being studied under its umbrella. Because it is an interdisciplinary subject many universities do not require specific A-level subjects, and welcome applicants whose profile is science-oriented as well as arts-centred.
The degree course usually starts with an introduction to the techniques of contemporary linguistic research. Students will look at the grammatical, and semantic structure and of various approaches to descriptive, historical, and experimental linguistics. Optional study is also available on topics such as how words are built up into sentences, how words are composed from smaller elements, phonetics, language disorders and how sounds are produced.
You will experience a range of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, group-working, case studies and both individual and group presentations. In many universities traditional teaching is supported by a virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials.
Typical course modules and areas of study on a Linguistics Degree
Sounds and words
Structures and meanings
Language, brain, and society
Semantics and pragmatics
Students will learn about
The universal properties and the particular structures of language.
The geographical and social dialect variations of language.
Research and documentation of endangered languages.
How words relate to thought.
The way words are put together.
Language is used in a multicultural environment.
The sound, grammar and meaning systems of different languages.