When embarking on a degree in linguistics, you’ll undoubtedly be asked ‘but what can you do with that?’ or the common, brush off ‘that sounds interesting’. So, why do linguistics? Indeed, what can you do with it? Our chair, Joe, has the following to say:
Linguistics is incredibly important for a number of reasons. Not only are we entering an increasingly globalised world where everybody is connected in some way, but we’re in an increasingly unstable world and the importance of understanding one another is ever more important. Discourse analysis enables us to understand the odd nuances in speech, to recognise when to talk and when to respect somebody’s ‘air time’. But that’s not the only reason. Language is a fundamental part of what it means to be human, it gives us identity, and allows us to express the most complex and abstract emotions that go on in those strange brains of ours. Linguistics gives us the tools to better understand this amazing feat of human nature. The study of language asks some of the most essential how questions there are. In one class we’re philosophers, another scientists, the next psychologists. This multidisciplinary degree is incredibly important in identifying how we come to be who we are. Without language, nothing else would exist.
So the next time someone asks you why you’re studying linguistics, let them know that without it, they wouldn’t be able to ask you that question at all.