What is the study of Linguistics?
Linguistics, the science of language, is an interdisciplinary field which relates to the diversity of the cultures and languages of the world. It is an integral part of most serious pursuits dealing with aspects of language study and analysis. As the boundaries of the world change, an understanding of individual languages and cultures becomes increasingly important. Communication in this complex society requires knowledge of the workings of languages, as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
All Linguistics majors are expected to acquire knowledge of the functions of language at various levels and knowledge of the techniques and methods used in language analysis. A student of Linguistics will thereby significantly advance his or her appreciation of linguistic and cultural diversity. Students who major in linguistics acquire valuable intellectual skills, including analytic reasoning and argumentation, and learn how to study language scientifically. This means making insightful observations, formulating and testing clear hypotheses, making arguments and drawing conclusions, and communicating findings to a wider community. Linguistics majors are therefore well equipped for a variety of jobs and graduate-level programs.
The Linguistics Program offers a multidisciplinary degree that prepares students for a variety of professional careers. Students can specialize in both applied and theoretical aspects of language study, and combine linguistic study with specialization in a dozen world languages, including English.
- Edward Vajda, Faculty
It was both my interest in Linguistics and the reputation of the Linguistics program at Western Washington University that motivated me to pursue the study of a field that has long been an area of strong interest for me. The Linguistics program has provided me with an outstanding level of academic challenge, intellectual stimulation, and the drive to continue my pursuit of the study of linguistics to the next level of graduate study. The professors who come together to offer the Linguistics courses have shown me an amazing level of dedication, expertise and crucial enthusiasm that have made my time studying at Western Washington in pursuit of a Linguistics degree seem like the best possible decision I could have made. The quality of this program has exceeded my admittedly high expectations, and I feel very fortunate to continue to study under the guidance of the talented, hard-working, and supportive team of professors in the Linguistics program.
- Scott Cawthon, Student
- Higher Education research and teaching:
- speech sciences
- computer science
- modern and classical languages
- K-12 Teaching (World Languages, ESL, literacy)
- Computer Industry (speech recognition, natural language processing, AI)
- Translating and Interpreting
- Language documentation and fieldwork
- Publishing (editing, writing)
- Lexicography (dictionary research and editing)
- Law (forensic linguistics)