A Linguistics major isn’t the study of foreign languages, and it’s not the same as a grammar and composition major. Instead it’s a strong mix of both. Linguistics is the study of language. Linguistics majors pick apart all aspects of language.
Linguistics majors are curious about how things are communicated, whether it be in English, Spanish or Sign Language. They like words, and probably have a huge vocabulary. But more than liking the words themselves, they’re curious where they come from – what’s the root of the word, what culture did it come from and why was it chosen to represent whatever it means? They are total word geeks and not even a little ashamed of it.
Linguistics majors are strong technical writers. They are good at translating between languages they know. They think methodically and have good memories.
If language isn’t your strong point, including your native one, as much as you could learn from a Linguistics major it may be too much of an uphill battle. If you’re not the language type but instead hunger for math and science, what on earth are you even doing reading about Linguistics?
As a Linguistics major, you’ll never be able to listen to your cousin Chucky again without cringing – not because of his potty mouth but because of his butchering of sentence structure. You’ll become an expert on the proper use of parts of speech. You’ll also learn the important of language delivery – why you raise your voice here, change your pitch there. You’ll not only know what words like syntax, semantics and phonology mean, you’ll know how to use them.
Linguistics majors can find more work than you’d think. Have you ever noticed how complicated a legal document can be? Linguists are often the ones called in by courts to figure out what they are saying. With a little additional training Linguistics majors can teach. They can work as interpreters. They can work in a team analyzing ancient documents. And did you know the FBI hires linguists? I’d tell you why, but then I’d have to kill you.
Start studying another language now. While by high school your English classes are more about writing essays and reading literature, your foreign language classes will still focus on breaking down sentence structure and figuring out verb tense. Those skills in addition to the new vocabulary will help get you on your way to your Linguistics degree.
While this major isn’t the study of a foreign language, you’re going to want to know at least one. If you don’t already speak another language, you’ll want to learn one, either through classes or study abroad.