What Is a Degree in Linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of languages. Students who choose to study linguistics learn how languages change over time, are related to one another, and can be broken down into structural components. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Prospective students who are enamored with language sometimes consider studying the field of linguistics. According to the College Board (www.collegeboard.com), linguistics is basically the study of languages and how these languages have evolved. A linguistics degree program uses several different fields, such as psychology, archaeology, sociology and education, to explore how language has developed from symbols and images etched on cave walls to highly-developed language spoken and written language systems. This field covers the structural components of languages that include syntax, grammar, and phonetics, as well as the history of language. The following are some typical courses found in a linguistics degree program:

  • Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology: These courses detail patterns and properties of words. Phonetics is the study of perceptual and acoustic properties of speech sounds. Phonology focuses on sound patterns in language. Morphology covers aspects of phonological details that appear at specific morpheme boundaries.
  • Introduction to Linguistics: This is a general course designed to give the first-year student a general overview of the field of linguistics. Some issues that are important to linguistics that will be covered include the syntax and morphology of language.
  • Syntax and Semantics: This course introduces students to the concepts of syntax and semantics. Syntax covers how sentences are put together and semantics covers the area of linguistic meaning. A course such as this is designed to give students the tools needed in modern linguistic analysis in these two important areas. Students should also be able to interpret their analysis.
  • Theories of Linguistic Analysis: Students enrolled in this course learn about the theories of language. Students study language that is approached from perspectives that include formal linguistics, structural linguistics, and functional linguistics.
  • Semiotics and the Study of Meaning: Semiotics is the study of signs. Students learn how these signs operate in the world and how they are included within larger groups of signs called codes.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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