Have you ever wondered:
Why we say "teeth" instead of "tooths"?
How we can read the hieroglyphics written thousands of years ago?
Why do we have so many different languages in the world?
How Google Translate works?
Linguistics is a field that can answer all these questions and more about language!
What Is A Linguist?
Many people think a linguist is a person who speaks several languages. While many linguists can speak several languages, it's not the focus of linguistics.
Linguistics is the scientific study of languages.
A linguist is someone who studies different aspects of a language in a scientific way.
What Exactly Does A Linguist Do?
What my friends think I do
What my mother thinks I do
What society thinks I do
What I think I do
A linguist does all of these and more! It depends on your interests and what aspect of linguistics you want to focus on.
Okay, maybe that one is not possible yet.
The hero of the movie Arrival is a linguist who finds a way to communicate with aliens. She uses linguistics to decipher the complex way the extraterrestrial visitors write, thus figuring out what they want and saving the entire planet!
This sci-fi movie explores linguistic concepts accurately, such as how language shapes our thoughts and understanding of the world.
What Can I Do With A Linguistics Degree?
The skills you develop in a linguistics program help you prepare for a career in many different fields, including education, writing, and translation. The most common jobs are:
Professor and Researcher
You can work at university departments such as linguistics, speech and communication, and anthropology.
Translator and Interpreter
Are you fluent in at least two languages? You can be a professional translator or interpreter!
You can teach foreign languages to native English speakers or teach English as a foreign language!
There are also specialized jobs that you can do with your linguistics degree. For example:
Record the developments in a language; write, compile, and edit online and print dictionaries!
Apply your knowledge of linguistics on written or recorded documents to help solve crimes!
Find ways to teach computers how to understand and mimic human language!
Which of these places could benefit from hiring a linguist?
But Will It Pay The Bills?
In the U.S. the average salary for linguists is $73,000 USD .
In Canada, the average salary for linguists is $57,000 CAD .
You'll Love It If...
You enjoy learning about languages, including dead ones.
You are passionate about different cultures.
You enjoy working on itty bitty details.
You are curious about how the brain works.
You have a passion for technology.
And you love reading: lots of it.
Does analyzing a single word for hours sound like something you'd enjoy doing?
Does it sound like linguistics could be a good path for you? If so...
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This Byte has been authored by
Inci Sariz Bilge
Learning Experience Designer