What Can You Do With a Linguistics Degree?

Spanish teacher standing in classroom with books beside whiteboard

Language plays a fundamental role in daily life. It enables people and organizations to connect with each other and carry out transactions. Linguistics involves the academic study and systemization of language. Linguists use the scientific method to study the grammatical structures, speech sounds and word meanings used in the thousands of languages spoken around the world.

If you have a passion for language, you might consider earning a language degree.

Earning a Language Degree

Linguists are fascinated by the science of languages and the role they play in human society. Indeed, the study of linguistics closely relates to other areas, like sociology and anthropology. Linguists strive to develop a greater understanding of what it means to be human by analyzing the ways in which people communicate with each other.

Linguists and other professionals who work closely with grammar, syntax and other components of language do not need to begin their academic journey with a specialized degree. Earning an English degree can give you the foundation for a career as a linguist, along with other opportunities available to English majors.

Understanding the Work of Linguists

Linguists analyze languages and their discrete components. They may work with compiled databases or do field research where they interact directly with native speakers of a certain area. As a linguist studies a language, they look to identify patterns and seek insights about the language and its speakers. Linguists may also design experiments to perform on native speakers of the language to evaluate the accuracy of a hypothesis.

Considering Linguistics Jobs in Academia

Some linguists work in academia. These include professors at higher education institutions who teach linguistics or other language courses. Others decide to become English teachers at the elementary or high school level. Since linguists may have a strong command of multiple languages, pursuing a career as a foreign language teacher can be a valuable experience for passionate educators.

Linguistics Jobs in the Public Sector

Although some work as linguists in research and academia, others with a background in language hold jobs in the public sector. Strong language skills are essential for diplomats and intergovernmental officials who rely on clear communication with international counterparts. There are also linguistics-related careers at nearly every level of government.

Private Sector Linguistics Careers

There are countless linguistics-related opportunities in the private sector which thrive off of the many professional skills a linguist develops, including critical thinking and communication skills. For example, you may consider joining a marketing firm as a multicultural specialist. Multicultural marketers understand that certain language choices are perceived differently by different populations and ensure that a company’s message is communicated clearly.

If you are looking for a high-tech linguistics career, consider pursuing a job in artificial intelligence development. Tech companies that develop AI tools for use in search engines and customer service hire linguists to consult on automated systems. Linguists may also be hired by text-to-speech developers to use their knowledge of dialects and phonetics to develop speech recognition systems.

Numerous opportunities allow linguists to have a direct positive impact on people’s lives, such as speech-language pathology. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) works with clients who have speech and language disorders, helping them overcome their language and communication barriers to enjoy a higher quality of life.

If you are fascinated by the study of language, consider enrolling in the Bachelor of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing degree program at Grand Canyon University. This degree will prepare you to jump into a wide range or careers or continue your education in linguistics or with our MA in English with an Emphasis in Education. To learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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