What Is a Degree in Linguistics?
Linguistics is the study of languages. Students who choose to study linguistics learn how languages change over time, how languages are related to one another, and how language can be broken down into structural components, such as grammar, phonetics, and syntax. Schools offering Linguistics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Prospective students who are enamored with language sometimes consider studying the field of linguistics or English. Most people are aware of what pursuing a degree in English consists of, but are not quite sure what linguistics has to offer. According to the College Board (www.collegeboard.com), linguistics is basically the study of languages and how these languages evolve over time. A linguistics degree program will also cover structural components of languages that include syntax, grammar, and phonetics. 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, phonology, 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 will 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 enrolled in a course such as this will learn how these signs operate in the world and how they are included within larger groups of signs called codes.
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