A Love of Language
Linguistics is the study of human language in three particular areas — language meaning, language form and language context. The first of these, language meaning, involves the study of how languages develop to convey meaning and remove ambiguity when interpreting the real world. Language form involves the structural components of language, such as grammar, morphology and syntax. Finally, language context focuses on the origins of language and how they change and evolve.
If you’re interested in studying language and linguistics, a good ear is certainly a must. You must also have an interest in human nature, an interest in the written and oral word and patience for scientific process. Much of linguistics involves studies and research, as well as deep analysis of speech samples and patterns.
Course Work in Linguistic Degree Programs
The course work in linguistics programs is intensive, with a combination of theoretical training and lab work. Courses will focus on language and meaning, phonology, grammar and syntax, semantics and more. Sociological and anthropological linguistics will also be studied.
It is possible to get an online or distance learning linguistics degree. Typically, the course work and assignments will be the same, but discussions will take place online and assignments will be submitted electronically. There are benefits to both online and in-classroom programs. Often, many people choose to complete undergraduate linguistic degrees at an institution, and then take one of the many specialized master’s degrees in applied linguistics online.
There are many career opportunities for those with a degree in linguistics. From a language perspective, tutoring, teaching English as a second language, and working with computers to develop and enhance text to speech engines are all possibilities (though keep in mind you may need certification or further training to be qualified to teach).
Outside of spoken language, careers in writing are another option, including publishing, editing, journalism, advertising, technical writing and much more.
Salaries in the linguistics field will depend on the position. Teachers, reporters, writers and those in the publishing industry can expect to see salaries in the $40,000 to $50,000. Careers in computer linguistics may pay higher, especially with experience and expertise.