Why should I study linguistics?

What is Linguistics?

In a nutshell, linguistics is concerned with the complexities and the study of language. Contrary to studying a language as such, however, it aims at providing new insights into how language works in ever-changing environments and contexts. If you wish to dig deeper into the wide field of languages than cramming grammar and vocab, this subject might just be the right one for you as it also looks into the roles of meaning and sounds and how they impact on one another. Moreover, it is interested in the political, social and cultural aspects surrounding language.

Three reasons to study Linguistics:

  1. Given that linguists can choose from many specialisms throughout their studies, they are therefore able to choose from many careers: they can work in research at universities, in media, publishing, marketing and advertising, in the health sector as speech therapists or clinical linguists or in the IT sector as computational linguists.
  2. If you are interested in working in advertising, you will be working on decrypting the deeper meaning of slogans and which messages these are meant to evoke in potential customers. You may also be tasked with authoring slogans and media content. You may also work as a communication expert in businesses, providing training for their employees and developing further their corporate communications.
  3. Should you choose to work in computational linguistics or on endangered languages, you will be able to travel the world in order to conduct research in the countries in which these languages are still spoken.

How to study Linguistics?

Depending on whether you specialise in theoretical or applied linguistics, your studies will encompass practical and theoretical aspects or focus on theory only. Your studies will consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language lab work. Should you choose to study linguistics, you can expect to broaden your skills in expressing yourself precisely and correctly, being able to provide sound analyses and comparisons and working in teams. As an alternative, you are able to study a language, for instance, Chinese/sinology.

To study linguistics, it is likely for you to move to a city with a medium-sized to large university as it is mostly those offering linguistics degree programmes. Some universities will offer more specialised degrees within linguistics, such as computational linguistics. Should you go for studying a language, your choice of universities offering these is larger than if you choose to study linguistics as such. Assessments vary across exams, coursework and presentations. Students of linguistics will often be required to conduct research of their own or in teams, thereby generating exactly the sort of skillset that employers are seeking. Depending on the area in which you intend to work following your studies, you may wish to do accumulate additional practical experience such as by an editorial department traineeship or other qualifications in the field of your chosen career.

What kind of job can I get by studying Linguistics?

If you graduate from a linguistics programme, you are able to go into various professional fields:

With a degree in linguistics, you can work in health, public services and in research, however, also the private sector requires linguists. Professions here are to work as a communication trainer in a corporation or in advertising and more.

In order to work in either of those fields, you will have to major in one of the specialisms of linguistics that can be classed as either theoretical linguistics or applied linguistics. Semiotics, lexicology, grammar, semantics and pragmatics are part of the former category, whereas computational, psychological, forensic or textile linguistics are part of the latter category.

How can U-Multirank help me find the best Linguistics study programme for me?

If you’re considering pursuing a degree in linguistics, then let us help you find the best university for you. U-Multirank’s ‘For students track offers personalised university comparisons, so you can find the university that best matches you. U-Multirank’s subject rankings provide the feedback of more than 100,000 current students studying at the respective universities, offering a unique student perspective to the rankings via our Teaching & Learning dimension. Create your own personalised rankings today and compare universities according to what matters most to you.  To start, make sure to select linguistics as your subject of interest and we’ll help guide you through the rest.

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