What is language? What exactly does the knowledge of language consist of? How do children acquire language without any instruction? What does language reveal about our culture and identity? These are the central questions explored by linguists. The goal is to gain a scientific understanding of the nature of language that can be applied in many areas, such as applied linguistics, anthropology, speech pathology, language teaching, computational linguistics, and cognitive science.
What careers can this major prepare you for?
Translator or interpreter; computer industry (linguists work with computer programmers on speech recognition, search engines, machine translation and artificial intelligence); speech pathologist with children and adults with brain impairments affecting speech (aphasias and genetic disorders); government (FBI, CIA and the military); education, teaching languages (English or a foreign language; in the US or abroad); language documentation and preservation (with organizations that work on preservation of endangered languages, such as SIL or Living Tongues); accent coaching in the entertainment industry: helping actors acquire the desired accent for the role.
What skills are developed within this major?
Linguistics majors get a thorough training in the core areas of linguistics, such as Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology and Syntax; and learn how human language really works.