Have you ever thought about studying linguistics? Your passion for languages is already a great start!

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What should you consider before committing to this profession?

What is linguistics and why study it?

Linguistics is the science that studies language. It's a very diverse field that often intersects with other disciplines like history, psychology, philosophy, and even math!

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Linguists study language, analyzing its structure, origins, evolution, and how people learn it.

Their work is socially and culturally important. Linguists are key players in preserving languages, making communication easier, developing accessible technologies, understanding how people think, and promoting literacy.

What will you learn in a linguistics program?

In an introductory first year, you'll learn the fundamentals of linguistics: how we form words, structure sentences, and understand meanings. Afterward, the skills you pick up will depend on the niche you choose to focus on.

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Your computer isn't only good at complex calculations — it can understand human language, too. Computational linguistics studies how machines process and produce meaningful texts. Programming is the key skill you'll pick up.


Whenever you speak or listen to someone, there are a lot of complex processes going on in your brain. Psycholinguists study how our mind produce and understand language. You'll study language disorders and research how people learn and use languages.


Ever wondered what Hawaii English is? Sociolinguists study how geography, politics, religion, and personal traits influence the way we use language. As a student, you'll learn text analysis, interviewing, and statistics.


If criminal investigators need to find out who wrote a threatening note, they'd probably hire a specialist in forensic linguistics. Forensic linguists analyze texts, recordings, and speech to solve crimes. You'll know how to spot all kinds of writing and talking styles.

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Visit Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia University websites to learn more about the different linguistic courses they offer.


Take a guess on what ethnolinguistics studies:

What makes a good linguist?

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Passion for language

Language is the main tool and object of investigation for linguists. Would you enjoy dealing with linguistic intricacies on a daily basis? You should also be ready for a lifelong commitment to learning. Linguistics is a dynamic field, because language is constantly evolving.

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Language is only part of the deal. Linguists are also interested in different cultures, as well as social and political context that might influence the way we speak. True professionals do research on the origins of languages and words to get a better understanding of their field.

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Linguistic work often doesn't produce any immediate results or products. Take theoretical research, for example — it might last for years without producing any obvious outcomes. If that sounds discouraging, choose more applied branches of linguistics like computational linguistics, translation, or language teaching.

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Top-notch communication skills

Verbal and writing skills are both important for linguists, although the significance of each may depend on your niche. Clear communication is a must — whether you're collaborating with peers, giving lectures, conducting field interviews, or getting your work published.

What careers can you pursue?

A degree in linguistics opens up a lot of doors. Sure, you could become a translator or a language teacher. But what about something more intriguing, like becoming an accent coach or even a special agent? Believe it or not, the FBI hires language analysts and applied linguists.

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Where do linguists work?

You can work in academia as a researcher or professor. Your daily tasks might include doing scientific research, teaching, writing academic papers, and supervising students.

In private companies, linguists can take on various roles, from journalists to UX writers. You'll be responsible for writing, managing databases, and developing communication strategies.

Want to work for the government? Consider jobs like diplomatic interpreter or cryptolinguist. You'll translate official documents, work with diplomats, and even analyze intercepted recordings.

To work for a humanitarian cause, join non-governmental organizations.In roles likelanguage documentation specialist, you'll help preserve rare languages.

Be strategic about your program choice

Be sure to do job market research before committing to a specific program. Imagine studying a rare dialect for years only to hit the job market and realize there's no demand for your skills.

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In today's job market, specialists in language technology are in high demand:

  • Computational linguists use computers to process language.

  • Localization specialists adapt texts to the language of specific countries.

  • Conversational developers create chatbots.

  • Language model architects help machines to imitate human language.

Double major

Consider pursuing a double major to make the most of your linguistic skills and secure plenty of well-paid job options. It might also improve your job security.

Take a look at testimonials from students at the University of Toronto who share their insights on double majors in linguistics.

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How can you succeed in a linguistics program?

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  • Master the basics: learn the ins and outs of linguistic fundamentals.

  • Set your goals: figure out what you want to achieve by the end of the year/program.

  • Be curious: do some extra reading and explore different optional courses.

  • Participate in scientific discussions: discuss what you've learned with your classmates. It'll help to understand the course content better.

  • Seek feedback from pros: don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help. They'd love to see your enthusiasm!

Take Action

You're only a couple of steps away from submitting your admission papers.

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