The study of language is called linguistics. For context, linguistics is the study of a human’s capacity to learn and communicate in one or more languages.
This study may involve pronunciation (use of vocal cords), sign languages, and other abstract techniques. It is a science that breaks down language backgrounds such as how Germanic brought about English, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian.
It also covers specific languages like French, Arabic, and Mandarin. Linguistics regularly gets compared to phenomena such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology.
This article is a compilation of everything you need to know about the study of language, the various subfields of linguistics, and career prospects.
Subfields of Linguistics
Like every humanities field, linguistics has various subfields. They include:
- Phonetics: the study of speech sounds and the right way to pronounce them.
- Phonology: the study of how sounds are arranged.
- Morphology: the study of how sounds are arranged to form a meaningful unit.
- Pragmatics: studies the differences and similarities between language signs and users.
- Semantics: this is the study of meanings themselves
- Sociolinguistics: the study of the interaction between people or collective and language.
- Syntax: the study of units of meanings that can come together to form statements or sentences.
Because linguistics’ features are multifaceted, it is often integrated into disciplines such as literature, history, pedagogy, and psychology, to name a few.
This and other factors make the field an exciting one in terms of career opportunities. I will discuss this later in the article.
Benefits of Studying Linguistics
Language forms a big aspect of culture and the world at large. Studying linguistics will provide a better insight into how language constantly evolves and influences the world.
Linguistics will help you:
- Better understand languages and express yourself to others. This can vary from people of the same culture to people of different cultures.
- Organize your daily routine and understand subject matters as a student or a teacher.
- Understand intonations and their significance in sentence construction
- Linguistics helps you see beyond surface meanings and breeds mutual respect and understanding.
To fully unravel the benefits of linguistics, you need to understand that language is one of the fastest and easiest ways to build local and international relationships.
Linguist Vs Polyglot: Are They the Same?
Linguists and polyglots are somewhat similar. While most linguists are polyglots, the two words do not mean the same thing.
Linguists are people who study the structure, use, and psychology of a language. When a linguist becomes an expert in more than one language, he or she can also be regarded as a polyglot.
Please note that you can be a polyglot without being a linguist. This means you can learn to speak more than a language but may not be deeply familiar with why the language you speak evolves.
Linguists, on the other hand, are responsible for staying up to date with the reason behind every evolution. Most language teachers or people who interpret different languages in the White House are polyglots, not linguists.
Linguists are a bit rare and if you are not careful you will misinterpret them as polyglots.
Careers Opportunities for Linguistics Graduates
Career opportunities with a B.A. in Linguistics only
Various careers you can pursue with just a B. A in Linguistics include:
- Teaching English or any language of your choice in a foreign country. Russia, China, and Japan are countries in need of English professionals.
- Working as a translator of various languages including sign languages. This is best for B.A. graduates with excellent multilingual skills.
- If you have a B.A. in Linguistics and in-depth knowledge of computer science courses, you can pursue a career with companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Macintosh.
You will play a crucial part in helping them design computers that can understand and speak human languages. A graduate of linguistics can also help search engines communicate in natural language.
Career opportunities with a B.A. in Linguistics including extra 2-3 Years of graduate training
The various options for people in this category include:
1. Going for a Master’s degree in education. This will make you qualify for teaching English as a second language in a country like the U.S. You can also opt for teaching a foreign language in an American institution.
2. Pursuing another graduate degree in another field. One of the best fields you can choose to further your career is Law. A degree in Law combined with a B.A. in Linguistics will help you with all the analytical skills you require to become a lawyer or a journalist.
Careers with a B.A. in linguistics and an extra 4-5 years of additional graduate training
1. Deciding to go for a Ph.D. in Linguistics to become better qualified to teach language in any college or university. You can also work in a language-related industry that requires editing and software development.
2. If you have a B. A and other certifications in courses like computer sciences, philosophy, or psychology, you can pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science.
This will make you super qualified for roles in any college, University, or industry interested in people with artificial intelligence and criminology skills.
What about Philology?
Philology is also the study of language. However, it is the study of language via classics or historical texts. This field of study originated from the Greeks and in Greek terms, it means “the love of learning or the love of words”.
People who study philology (philologists) focus more on historical knowledge as opposed to modern knowledge (as in linguists).
Rather than focus on oral tradition, philology trains students to study ancient (written) scribes or documents to help them understand ancient languages better.
The field of philology shares a lot of features with linguistics. It is also based on language structure and depends on both written and oral ancient tongues.
However, it is not as scientific as linguistics and requires less technical analysis. In other words, it is a blend of psychology, history, and anthropology used in the analysis of words and languages.
Which is the first language in the world?
Sumerian is considered the first language in the world.
Proof of this language dates back to at least 3500 BC.
Who is the mother of all languages?
Sanskrit is the mother of most languages.
It covers a large precinct in Asia and other parts of the world.
What is the hardest language to learn?
Mandarin Chinese is interestingly the hardest language and one of the most spoken languages in the world.
This is because it contains characters that are not easy to write for English speakers or anyone with a Latina background.
Which country has the most languages?
Papua New Guinea has the most languages.
The country features more than 839 living languages which are spoken within its borders.
You and I can both agree that the study of language (linguistics) is fun and will make you a more rounded person with the right words at the right time.
There are also other benefits and promising career opportunities for linguists with a B.A. at least. If you get curious about stuff like why a particular sentence is right and another similar one is wrong, a career in linguistics might just be right for you.
I hope you found this article helpful. For those more interested in understanding popular languages, it is crucial to know the best languages you can learn.
Thanks for reading.