Linguistics Degree: Get to know the Languages of the World

Linguistics is a very broad field offering an array of careers and also opportunities. It deals with the scientific study of language, with career opportunities ranging from freelancing to working for the Government. In today’s world, communication and interaction are at the heart of most careers. It does not come as a surprise that the field is rapidly growing. In the last ten years, the language services market has doubled from 23.5 billion dollars to 49.6 billion dollars and is still growing, owing to globalization. The market offers a diverse range of services like localization, instruction, and also translation. 

While many people believe that a linguist can speak multiple languages which is true for many linguists, the career is not just limited to that. Linguistics provides an understanding of how cultural interaction, society, and human development are shaped by the complexities of language, the relationship between language and thought, and also the principles underpinning human languages. 

The field includes:

  1. Study of the context, structure, and also usage of language. 
  2. Look at the nature of the language used in communication. 
  3. Identifies properties and also elements common among different languages. 
  4. Look at how languages change over time and also language variations. 
  5. How the brain processes and stores language, particularly in the early years. 

Linguistics also consists of several sub-areas, namely, phonetics (study of speech sounds), phonology (study of systems and patterns of speech sounds), morphology (study of word form or structure), syntax (study of grammar and sentence structure), and pragmatics (study of the context of language and its meaning).

Linguistics has a significant impact and also contributes to multiple fields like artificial intelligence, sociology, education, philosophy, psychology, among others. 

The Scope of Linguistics

The scope of Linguistics is vast as it is an expansive and complex field of study which includes various aspects of a language such as phonetics, semantics, syntax, morphology, stylistics, amongst others. The study of Linguistics is also interdisciplinary as it has many varied specializations such as Sociolinguistics, Computational Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, and so on. It is regarded as a descriptive field of study since it is always changing as languages evolve and change. So, as the new developments occur in any language, Linguistics as a field of study expands and is considered dynamic, as the historical aspects of languages and dialects go from old to new.

Another reason why there is an immense scope of Linguistics is that this area is also applied in various other fields especially Speech Therapy in Modern Medicine, Literature, Anthropology, Sociology, amongst others. Many research studies have also significantly highlighted the role of linguistics in every language as well as for comprehending the varied aspects of literature in terms of prose and poems.

Types of Linguistics

Now that you are familiar with the key branches of linguistics, you must also know the major types of Linguistics which are:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Descriptive Linguistics
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Dialectology
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Educational Requirements

In both national and international domains, linguistics is emerging as one of the most sought-after careers. An average annual mid-career salary of USD 73,500 may be expected. Strong verbal and written communication skills are also necessary. A keen interest in different languages is desirable; being bilingual or multilingual helps along the career path. One may even start preparing for a career in bachelors only.

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Masters in Linguistics

A Masters in Applied Linguistics is a 2-year course, encompassing different fields from verbal speech, society, communication in media, and language.

Eligibility:
  1. A Bachelors’s degree from a recognized university with a minimum of 50% aggregate. 
  2. Minimum 50% in 12th boards. 
  3. Colleges have their entrance exams.

Pursuing Ph.D. in Linguistics

You may also consider going for higher studies in the field of linguistics after completing your Master’s. 

Eligibility:
  1. A good score in competitive exams like UGC NET, GATE, or the university’s entrances (BHU, DU). 
  2. A master’s in Linguistics with a minimum of 55% aggregate from a recognized university. 

Top Colleges in India

Pursuing a diploma or degree in Linguistics, you will get to learn about a diverse range of languages, their evolution as well prevalence in the present times. Now that you are familiar with the nature and scope of Linguistics across its branches, let’s take a look at popular Linguistics degree courses offered around the world.

  • University of Lucknow
  • Delhi University
  • Lovely Professional University
  • Chandigarh University
  • JNU 
  • BHU
  • Calcutta University
  • Aligarh Muslim University
  • Shivaji University

Online Courses for Linguistics

Students interested in exploring linguistics as a career can easily access online courses for this program. Platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer short-term courses for linguistics. Here are some universities that offer online courses for linguistics degrees-

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
  • University of Southhampton
  • University of Portsmouth
  • The University of Western Australia
  • The University of Alberta
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Arizona Global Campus

Career Scope of Linguistics

Getting a degree in linguistics opens up numerous professional pathways. Linguistics is always in demand across a plethora of sectors such as government, research, corporate, etc. To help you understand the career scope of Linguistics, we have elaborated some of the major job prospects in this field:

Speech Therapist

Also known as a speech-language pathologist, a Speech Therapist facilitates the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of speech disorders especially those concerned with communication and pronunciation. Under the vast scope of Linguistics, this career profile is in-demand in the healthcare and educational domain and is concerned with treating children and adults in tackling their speech disorders. 

Lexicographer

Lexicography is also a distinguished branch of Linguistics and working in this field, you will be involved in studying words and accumulating them for dictionaries. Further, Lexicographers concentrate on defining the pronunciation, meaning, variations, and etymology of words. Linguists in this field are generally employed by publishing houses or research institutions for studying and describing the vocabulary of a particular language.

Research Scholar

A research career is amongst the sought-after opportunities in the immense scope of Linguistics. Many linguists choose to work in the research arena to explore lesser-known dialects and languages or work with government organizations on language-training programs, intelligence projects, amongst others.

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Responsibilities as a Linguist

A Linguist is always keen to find out the activity of the brain while humans attempt to learn and understand a language.

  • They have to be engaged in the utilization of scientific methods to study the language by observing, analyzing theories, and also creating models and assumptions.
  • Patiently understanding the dialect and tracing the history of the same.
  • Translators in this field are responsible to decode languages which include reading and understanding and ensuring the translated document matches the original.

Expected Salary

The average salary for a linguist in India is around 6 lakh per annum, ranging from a minimum of 3 lakh per annum to the highest of 11 lakhs per annum. As linguists work in diverse fields, the employment rates are high in India and abroad.

Conclusion

Linguistics is an ever-growing field with an increase in globalization, and dependence on communication and interaction among people from different cultures and geographical locations, hence, making it one of the most prominent careers in today’s world. As a cherry on top, it offers an exciting job role, traveling, and a desirable lifestyle. It also offers good pay with high employment rates and opportunities in diverse fields.

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