Although it is a rapidly growing field, much is still unexplored in the study of linguistics. The normal question one gets when declaring, “I’m a linguist,” is often, “what is that?” or “You’re a ling-what?!” Quite simply, linguistics is the scientific study of language, and a linguist is one who carries out this process. But, why study language from a scientific perspective anyway?
There is so much to cover in the field of linguistics that it carries its own sub-fields. Anthropological linguistics, for example, is the study of the history and evolution of language. Sociolinguistics deals with language patterns in social contexts, as in its relationship with gender studies, amongst other things. Some linguists study the challenges of language in particular career fields, such as gender-related communication amongst hospital staff. Other linguists focus on addressing communicative issues in technology, to include informal settings like chat rooms, and formal settings like online classrooms.
Linguistics is interwoven with other fields, making it interdisciplinary to a degree. It is an attractive field to many because it incorporates concepts in anthropology, history, archaeology, language acquisition, technology, and much more.
This field is so attractive that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it is “expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations,” (BLS, 2010). The OOH groups linguistics with other sub-fields of social science.
So, what can a person do practically by studying linguistics? To advance in the field more rapidly, a person is recommended to do graduate work at least on the Master’s level, and for those who wish to obtain higher-level teaching positions, it is strongly advised to earn the Ph.D. Many linguists will teach full-time, but complete research projects as a part of this role.
Stay tuned for more information on work and education in the linguistics field!
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved January 10, 2010 from: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos315.htm