About Linguistics

Linguistics is a dynamic fast-growing program. Four-year BA in Linguistics was evaluated as one of the best programs in the university according to an internal evaluation. Linguistics is one of the fastest growing programs on campus by the numbers of majors (70 majors in 2014-15). Close to 600 students take Linguistics courses a year.

Course offerings in Linguistics address scientific analysis of structures and functions of world languages, speech sciences, second language acquisition, language teaching methodologies and language and culture interactions. Linguistics courses are informative and entertaining, and the studies of Linguistics lead to real life careers. Linguistics program graduates pursue careers in speech and language pathology, audiology, language teaching, health sciences, child care, translation, interpreting, computational linguistics, and other areas.

Linguistics is the scientific study of the human language. That makes it one of the major disciplines to study the human mind, its interaction with the environment, and how it functions in various cultures. 

In addition, Linguistics interfaces with many other disciplines, making the Linguistics programs an interdisciplinary discipline. 

Our undergraduate programs aim to produce specialists in language analysis and description who can work in a broad area of language-related careers in the workforce.

The programs raises awareness of the unique value of all languages and cultures and cultivates respect to the speakers of all languages, whether major or minor, standard or non-standard, native speakers or non-native speakers of all languages.

Fields

Linguists are employed in a variety of fields:

  • Professional linguists do research on a variety of languages, work on language documentation and preservation issues both in an academic or any professional or administrative setting.
  • Speech language pathologists. Linguistics is a prerequisite for a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. Speech language pathologists work with adults or children who have any kinds of language disabilities, language acquisition problems, pronunciation issues, or adults who have brain injuries that affect their speech.
  • Psychiatrists and other therapists use linguistics training  to observe voice qualities in a patient, indicating personality types and emotional states of a person. 
  • Forensic linguists use this type of knowledge to identify sociological background, geographical background, or age of a person.
  • Actors may work with voice coaches with linguistic training to help with mimicking a different accent or learn to pronounce a foreign language properly.
  • Professional singers also use such training or coaches as well, especially when singing in a foreign language.
  • Teaching a foreign language or teaching English. With a background in linguistics, teaching a language helps streamlining the teaching process, focusing on certain problem areas for specific learners and eliminates the trial-and-error period of untrained language teachers.
  • A linguistic background is advantageous to interpreters/translators: Interpreters/translators work for governments, intelligence services, international companies or institutions.
  • Linguists working in literacy development have a general advantage anticipating and understanding pronunciation, grammar, and spelling errors.
  • Computer speech production and recognition requires linguistics training as well. Most progress in that area is based on a working knowledge of linguistics and how speech is processed and produced.
  • Sociolinguists study the relationships between language and society such as how does speaking a non-standard variant of a language or a different first language affect learning success in school?
  • Neurolinguists study what areas in the brain are responsible for what aspect of language.
  • Psycholinguists study how children learn their first language(s), whether language processing is different for multilingual speakers, how reading works, etc.
  • Lexicographers today are linguists who constantly work on updating, modernizing, and reinventing the dictionary as we use it today. We have come a long way from the first universal dictionary to the online dictionaries of today
  • Language creation, i.e. conlanging. Linguists today are responsible for creating languages for TV and movies such as the various languages in the show Game of Thrones.
  • Editors have to have a basic knowledge of linguistics in order to evaluate different writing styles both in fictional and non-fictional writing.

Undergraduate Degrees

There are three undergraduate degrees in Linguistics:

  • 3 year BA in Linguistics,
  • 4 year BA in Linguistics and
  • Honours BA in Linguistics

Contact

For further inquiries, please contact:

Bettina Spreng

 bettina.spreng@usask.ca
 (306) 966-1440
 

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