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Bachelor Degrees T - Z

Linguistics Degree Facts

June 26th, 2014

There are two things that make us different from animals. One is that we cook our food. The other major difference is that we communicate through language. Linguistics is the study of human language and it’s actually a lot more complicated than you think.

Linguistics examines many aspects of language, such as:

  • How people acquire their knowledge about language
  • How this knowledge of language affects our other cognitive processes
  • How language differs across populations and regions, and how this can be modeled in a computer
  • What all languages have in common
  • How language can reveal and spread prejudice and bias
  • How to make computer programs that allow us to give commands through language

It also studies various controversies and politics about language. Should a country have a national language? Should schools use more than one language? Should we forbid words which are offensive, and what are these offensive words? Which words are prejudicial?

There are several specializations available in linguistics, and these include:

  • Applied linguistics. This is the use of linguistics to solve language problems. The most common problem here is the teaching of second languages, and helping people who use different languages communicate with each other.
  • Cognitive linguistics. This tries to explain the mental processes behind learning and using language.
  • Semiotics. This is the study of signs. A sign is something that has meaning and this study explores the relationship between signs and meanings. People don’t always use words to communicate. They use hand gestures, and even street lights are forms of communication.
  • Lexicography. This is a compilation of the words used by a language. This information is what’s used when making dictionaries.

What Can You Do with a Linguistics Degree?

You can get a job in any career that involves language, voice, and communications. These jobs include:

  • Speech and language therapist
  • Lexicographer, who documents the use of language for dictionaries
  • Research lab coordinators in various institutions and universities
  • Go abroad teaching English
  • Work as an editor for publishing companies, or as a developer of language textbooks and teaching materials
  • Work for religious organizations to help translate the Bible into lesser known languages
  • Work for companies in the advertising or public relations department
  • Be a teacher
  • Work for tech companies developing software for grammar checks and voice recognition
  • Invent languages for fantasy shows. For example, linguists came up with the Klingon language in Star Trek, and the Dothraki and Valyrian languages in Game of Thrones were created by the linguist David J. Peterson.

If it is something connected to communications and language, then your Linguistics degree can really help. You studied language scientifically, and that’s a major boost in your resume.

What are the Best Schools to get a Linguistics Degree?

The field of linguistics can be very competitive, which is why many are driven to go for doctorate degrees in the subject. But even an undergraduate degree can really serve your career well, especially if you get them from one of these schools:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  2. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  3. Stanford University
  4. Harvard University
  5. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  6. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  7. University of Pennsylvania
  8. Ohio State University
  9. University of Chicago
  10. University of California

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