Linguistics as a discipline links the humanities with the sciences. It interfaces with a wide variety of fields but focuses on the nature of human language. Anyone trained in linguistics will be able to analyze the many different languages spoken around the world. No previous exposure to linguistics is required for students entering the major, only an interest in the special nature of human communication. The analysis and description of human language has been practiced for more than two millennia, and since the beginning of this century linguists and cognitive scientists have refined and extended their understanding of language and its mental representation. Linguistics nowadays contributes to the fields of education, psychology, sociology, anthropology, law, medicine, technology, philosophy, and history.
Every year, hundreds of students in the introductory course learn about the cognitive processes involved in communicative competence and, as a result, gain a deeper awareness of their own linguistic skills; many students then move on to our more advanced courses and will experience the phonetics lab where they can practice the many sounds of the languages of the world and also have the opportunity to record and analyze their own speech.
Linguistics majors study the psychological and physical mechanisms of human speech, the similarities and differences among languages, the origins of languages and how they change, and how language is acquired.
What We Offer
The Linguistics major leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Linguistics program also offers an approved subject matter preparation program for the Multiple Subject teaching credential. Students who complete such a program are exempt from subject matter examinations when applying for a teaching credential program. The Program in Linguistics lends support to the teacher training programs within the School of Education. In today's multi-ethnic and multilingual classrooms, qualified teachers will need to show some degree of linguistic awareness; knowing what first and second language learning consists of heightens the teacher's empathy with the learner and assists in the elimination of prejudice against non-standard or non-English varieties.
Linguistics graduates go on to a wide variety of careers in such fields as speech therapy, reading or special education teacher, librarian, and many others in which a background in language science plays an important role. Linguistics graduates also go on to graduate or professional schools and become lawyers, researchers, and professors.