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FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about linguistics. Please feel free to contact the department if you are unable to find an answer below. 

Phone: 801-581-8047
Email: linguistics@utah.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of how the mind creates language. Linguists study language to understand the structure of languages, how they vary and change, how they are used in various contexts, and how they are learned. Linguists believe that an objective study of language will lead to a greater understanding of the human mind. 

Linguists are employed in a number of fields.  Some work in industry and incorporate their knowledge of language to work with computers and language interfaces, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing.  Some work in education and either create materials for language learning or teach language (including English). Some work as a translator or interpreter in government or private sector settings.  The federal government loves linguists for their analytical skills and linguists are often employed by the varied governmental agencies.  Linguists might choose to work in publishing or writing fields, or writing laws or advertising materials.  Some linguists work on the documentation of languages before the language is gone and contribute greatly to our understanding of how languages work.  It is also common for linguists to use their knowledge to help actors with pronunciation or specialized dialect training.  Many undergraduate students in linguistics go on to graduate degrees in linguistics or other areas like law and speech language pathology.

Check out our careers page and TESOL careers page to see what you can do in linguistics.

First, because Linguistics is awesome!

Second, students who major in linguistics acquire valuable intellectual skills, such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and clarity of expression. This means making insightful observations, formulating clear, testable hypotheses, generating predictions, making arguments and drawing conclusions, and communicating findings to a wider community. Linguistics majors are therefore well equipped for a variety of graduate-level and professional programs and careers. Some may require additional training or skills, but not all do.

Taken from: http://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/why-major-linguistics

Many students begin their study of linguistics because they have an interest in language.  Linguistics is much deeper than knowing a language; it is about what it is that is happening in our brains when we are creating and hearing language.  There are many disciplines inside of the field of linguistics that study different parts of language and how language is used. 

Probably the most asked question when someone finds out you are a linguist.  Linguists often speak multiple language because they are interested in languages, or because learning a language led them to linguistics, but it is not necessary to be fluent in multiple language to be a linguist.  Because we study different phenomena that occur in language, linguists often know only part of different languages and they may never use what they know about that language for speaking.  Our interest is in seeing how languages are related to one another, and trying to piece together the process that happen in the brain when one is the speaker or the listener.

 

Linguistics at the University of Utah

The Department of Linguistics is a small department that offers close interaction with faculty. Almost all of our courses have small enrollments. As linguists, we put language under the microscope in order to provide insight into various aspects of this uniquely human ability. We offer courses that examine language and languages from diverse angles including their sounds (phonetics and phonology), their ways of forming words (morphology), their sentence structures (syntax), their systems of expressing meaning (semantics), how they are acquired by children and adults, and language variation in different social and cultural contexts. Consequently, linguistics is closely connected to many other fields, such as philosophy, psychology, biology, and English, and linguistics courses are a great way for majors in other departments to broaden their academic experience.

Our faculty specialize in many areas including: Historical Linguistics, Philosophy of language, Phonology, Second Language Acquisition, Second language pedagogy, Semantics, Sociolinguistics, and syntax.

Linguistics BA

There are 36 credit hours required to complete the degree requirements in Linguistics. The major requirements consist of a foundations course, two core courses (LING 4010 and 4020), a capstone course, and 8 electives. See a list of linguistics courses and descriptions here.

Linguistics Minor

A minor can be completed in 18 credit hours and includes: an introductory course (LING 1200), 2 theory courses, and three electives. Check out the linguistics minor requirements for more information.

Other requirements

You also need to complete all of the university requirements for a degree . Your advisor can help you select the courses that meet your needs and interests.

In order to declare Linguistics as your major, you must meet with the academic advisor. You want to meet with the advisor and declare your major as soon as you can so that there is never a hold placed on your registration.  It also protects you against any curriculum changes at the university and in the department in that once you are declared, you follow the requirements of that catalog year even if they add more requirements later.

In order to declare Linguistics as your minor, you must meet with the academic advisorYou want to meet with the advisor and declare your minor as soon as you can so that there is never a hold placed on your registration.  It also protects you against any curriculum changes at the university and in the department in that once you are declared, you follow the requirements of that catalog year even if they add more requirements later.
In order to enroll in the TESOL certificate program, you must pay the $45 fee (increasing to $55 on August 22, 2016) to the linguistics secretary in LNCO 2300 (cash or check; checks made payable to the University of Utah) and complete the enrollment form.
Yes, we offer many of our classes through Continuing Education and Community Engagement. These course are not for credit and can be taken even if you are not a student at the University of Utah.  Please call 801-581-6461 with questions about continuing education classes and not for credit options.

The department of Linguistics has many programs for students to get involved.  We offer research opportunities to undergraduate students, a linguistics club, research and community events, and others.

 

Undergraduate Degree Programs

At the Undergraduate level, we offer a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics, a Linguistics minor, and a TESOL certificate.  Students can select electives to meet the areas of interest that they have in Linguistics.

Linguists are employed in a number of fields.  Some work in industry and incorporate their knowledge of language to work with computers and language interfaces, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing.  Some work in education and either create materials for language learning or teach language (including English). Some work as a translator or interpreter in government or private sector settings.  The federal government loves linguists for their analytical skills and linguists are often employed by the varied governmental agencies.  Linguists might choose to work in publishing or writing fields, or writing laws or advertising materials.  Some linguists work on the documentation of languages before the language is gone and contribute greatly to our understanding of how languages work.  It is also common for linguists to use their knowledge to help actors with pronunciation or specialized dialect training.  Many undergraduate students in linguistics go on to graduate degrees in linguistics or other areas like law and speech language pathology.

Check out our careers page and TESOL careers pageto see what you can do in linguistics.

There are 36 credit hours required to complete the degree requirements in Linguistics. The major requirements consist of a foundations course, two core courses (LING 4010 and 4020), a capstone course, and 8 electives. See a list of linguistics courses and descriptions here.

Linguistics Minor

A minor can be completed in 18 credit hours and includes: an introductory course (LING 1200), 2 theory courses, and three electives. Check out the linguistics minor requirementsfor more information.

In order to declare Linguistics as your major, you must meet with the academic advisor. You want to meet with the advisor and declare your major as soon as you can so that there is never a hold placed on your registration.  It also protects you against an curriculum changes at the university and in the department in that once you are declared, you follow the requirements of that catalog year even if they add more requirements later.

Yes, many students are able to combine Linguistics with a second Major at the University of Utah.  It is common for our students to double major in Communication, Philosophy, Sociology, International Studies, or a World Language along with Linguistics.
Last Updated: 8/18/16