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About Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language. Although many people believe that a linguist is a person who speaks many languages and teaches them, the correct term for these people is actually “polyglots”. Although most linguists do speak multiple languages, the study itself focuses on the structure, use and psychology of languages. Linguists gain insight into humans ability to communicate through language, how it works and how it has developed and been preserved over time. 

The subject of linguistics is split into different sub areas. Each of those areas corresponds to phenomena found in the human linguistic systems such as sounds, meaning, patterns, structure etc. 

What do you study in Linguistics?

Getting a degree in linguistics means you’ll gain a better understanding of human behavior and communication. You’ll learn about many different aspects of the human language, including:

  • Sounds (phonetics and phonology) - Phonetics is concerned with the physical aspects of sounds like their articulation, perception and articulation. Phonology on the other hand focuses on how languages or dialects systematically organise their sounds.
  • Words and sentences (morphology and syntax) - Morphology and syntax focus on understanding the order and structure of words and sentences within a language. While syntax studies words and how they combine into phrases and sentences, morphology looks into how words themselves are formed. It analyses their structure, roots, stems, prefixes and suffixes. 
  • Meaning (semantics) - Semantics is the subfield that addresses the meaning of words, phrases and sentences. 

Different teachers and programmes might focus on different aspects of linguistics. Some might focus on one specific language, while others could be targeting a group of languages. Last but certainly not least, most courses that offer linguistics also give you the opportunity to learn a new language alongside the course. 

What career opportunities will I get if I study linguistics?

Linguistics students will gain a number of valuable skills such as critical thinking, argumentation and analytical reasoning. A degree in this field can prepare you for a career in: 

  • Education - you can develop educational materials for different populations, train teachers and find effective ways to teach certain topics in specific communities. 
  • Teaching a foreign language - most people with a background in linguistics are fluent in a few languages which allows them to follow a career in teaching.
  • Work as a translator or interpreter - high level translators are needed everywhere, regardless of the field. You might need additional training, but linguistics will give you a solid foundation. 
  • Writer or journalist - The verbal skills that linguists develop are ideal for positions in editing, publishing, and writing.

Furthermore, linguistics can prepare you for jobs in speech recognition, artificial intelligence, user research and more!

Can I sign up for lessons in linguistics?

You absolutely can! Nowadays you don’t necessarily have to go to university to learn a subject. There are plenty of other resources you can use to improve your skills and one of the best options available is working with a private tutor. TutorExtra is an online platform that offers courses in over 1000 subjects. Browse through our website, full of qualified tutors and choose the one you like best!

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