History & Evolution of Human Languages: Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of human languages. An online degree in linguistics teaches students how to analyze various languages, recognize recurring sound systems and trace the evolution of languages over time. Upon graduation, linguistic students will be prepared to enter a rewarding career that pertains to language and how it affects modern society.

Linguistics Degree Information

Degrees in linguistics can be earned at the bachelors, masters or doctoral level and through certification programs as well. The course of study for linguistics follows a similar track as most other disciplines, with around four years of study for the bachelor's degree, two for the master's and five or more for the doctorate. Degrees in linguistics can lead to a variety of language-related careers.

Study Options

Students interested in certain basic language-related careers like teaching English as a second language can earn a certificate in linguistics. These certificates provide proof of professional training in linguistics and can be earned in months, often online. Students can also major in linguistics at their college or university in order to earn a Bachelor of Arts in the discipline. They can then move on to earn a master's degree or a doctoral degree in linguistics that will widen their career options.

Advanced Degrees

A master's or doctoral degree in linguistics will open up virtually all language-related careers, including teaching of linguistics or of a specific language, linguistics research and serving as a translator. Masters degrees can take around two or more years of full time study while doctoral degrees will require around five years. Students will be expected to have mastered some specific languages while having a solid grounding in the principles of all major languages.

Master Of Arts

The Master of Arts degree in Linguistics focuses on research and learning the skills required to teach language. Masters candidates will generally be expected to be highly proficient in English, English composition and English as a second language, as well as comprehensive knowledge of one or more additional foreign languages.

Doctoral Programs

A student looking to earn a Ph.D. in linguistics will need to have a comprehensive understanding of advanced linguistic theory as well as computational linguistics. They will typically speak and read several foreign languages fluently. They will be expected to produce a dissertation detailing an original, innovative idea in the field of linguistics. These programs generally take three to five years to complete but can take longer depending on the complexity of the dissertation and the amount of time per year dedicated to study.

Choosing A Degree

Being proficient at a single foreign language does not necessarily mean someone will perform well in linguistics. However, students who have always had an interest in language, be it their own or others, and of how sentences are constructed and how ideas are communicated may find linguistics well suited to their interests and abilities.

Career Opportunities

Since many careers involve the use of language or communication in some way, there are many options open to those with linguistics degrees. These include careers as translators, speech therapists, foreign language teachers and English as a second language teachers. Linguistics experts may also find themselves working with artificial intelligence technology or even with the U.S. government as code breakers or intelligence analysts.

Earning Potential

The earning power of translators depends largely on the work they do. Many translators are self-employed and set their own fees. The average salaried interpreter or translator made about $17.10 per hour in 2006. Language specialists for the Federal government earned a median income of $76,287 in 2007. Speech Pathologists earned between $46,360 and $72,410 on average in 2006.

Getting Your Degree Online

Studying linguistics through an accredited distance learning program is no problem thanks to the Internet. It is now a relatively simple matter to access necessary texts, commentary and audio and video recordings necessary to develop ones linguistic skills. Students can take online courses, give online presentations and do required coursework remotely in order to complete their linguistics degree in a reasonable amount of time, and for continuing education students, with little interruption to their current jobs or lives.

Getting Your Degree Offline

Students who decide to study linguistics as their undergraduate major at a traditional college or university will find a host of resources to assist them. A top linguistics program will have experienced professors and texts that can guide any student through the process of understanding the underpinnings of any major language. The best way to learn is by doing, and students will also be able to practice their linguistic skills with peers and professors and in some cases, through study abroad. These options will create opportunities for students to immerse themselves in foreign languages and cultures, sharpening their skills and allowing them to increase their body of knowledge at a rapid pace so that they will be ready for whatever language-related career awaits them.

Linguistics Degree FAQs

What Can I Do with an Online Linguistics Degree?

Any career related to speech and language is open to students seeking a degree in linguistics. Perhaps the most popular career paths are college professor and writer. Other areas of employment include anthropology, translation, speech recognition, speech pathology, communications, literary analysis and artificial intelligence.

What Topics of Study Are Covered in an Online Linguistics Degree Program?

Numerous topics are taught throughout a Linguistics degree program. Areas of study include phonetics, historical languages, morphology, semantics and syntax. Many classes seek to explain the effects of language and linguistics on culture and society. As expected, foreign language classes are also a major part of earning an online degree in Linguistics.

What Skills Are Beneficial for a Career in Linguistics?

An interest and fluency in numerous world languages is the foundation for any linguistic expert. The ability to learn quickly and find parallels between varying languages is a helpful skill for graduates of an online linguistics program.

Attention to detail, analysis and critical thinking are essential to a rewarding career in language. Written and oral presentations are also a big part of many linguistic professions.

What Is the Average Salary for Linguistic Professionals?

Expected salary for individuals with an online degree in linguistics varies depending on the intended career path. Language professors can earn upwards of $100,000 annually. Researchers and authors might expect to make between $40,000 and $60,000 each year. Translators earn an average of $17.10 per hour. Speech pathologists can earn up to $72,410 annually.

Online Linguistics Degree Programs

Linguistics degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. An associate's degree or certificate program may also be pursued.

Certification provides specialized, accelerated training and is ideal for individuals interested in teaching English as a second language (ESL). An online Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics features a broader knowledge base in languages and related topics. Graduate level degrees allow students to gain expertise in a particular linguistics topic, such as translation, history or teaching.

Linguistics Student Guide

Linguistics students study the science of language. Although there are many languages in the world, most have some common themes with regard to how sentences are structured and the function of words within sentences. Linguistics experts study these commonalities as well as differences between languages.

Linguistics Books

Understanding the science of language requires intense study and many texts will have to be read carefully and critically along with class lectures in order to master its principles. Some of the books that students may encounter in their studies of linguistics include Language Universals and Linguistic Typology: Syntax and Morphology by Bernard Comrie, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Rodney D. Huddleston, Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing by Christopher D. Manning and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language by David Crystal. Your course syllabus should direct you to other linguistic books you may need, which will be available at your school's library or bookstore or online.

Linguistics Articles And Databases

Your best source for articles on linguistics will be the online and library databases supplied by the institution where you are studying the discipline. However, for additional assistance with finding linguistics databases, try ILoveLanguages.com, which contains multiple links to resources for linguistics research.

Online Linguistics Journals

There are several useful linguistics journals that you can get online, including the Linguistics Journal, The Cambridge Journals Online Journal of Linguistics, Applied Semiotics and the GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies.

Other Linguistics Research Tools

Some helpful linguistic research tools to supplement your schoolís study sources include JournalSeek.net/ling.htm, Doaj.org and LinguistList.org, which all provide links to linguistics journal information.

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