What Can I Do with a Linguistics Major?
The Linguistic Society of America has lots of information about the field of Linguistics, as well as about why you may want to study Linguistics. Click the links below to find out more:
Testimonials from Georgetown Undergrad Ling Majors
If you’re wondering whether you should study Linguistics at Georgetown, take a look at what some previous undergraduate majors had to say. You might see some reasons that apply to you.
When I took my introductory linguistics class, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. It was almost as if my professor was giving terms and structure to concepts that I had always inherently and innately known. Whether it was theoretical linguistics or second language acquisition, I always found myself thinking in class, “Ah, I do that!” Out of all the other social sciences, linguistics is the only field that moves me. I absolutely detest research and I’m certainly not a library person, but if it’s a linguistics project, without a doubt, you can find me in Lau with a stack of books on discourse analysis and whatnot, and I feel right at home. It’s the only class for which I’ll actually enjoy (and do) the readings, and I never sell back my texts. I still have my LING001 book, and I remember knowing without reservation within the first few days of class that linguistics had to be my major–that I couldn’t study anything but this for the next four years.
When I first started my college career at Georgetown, I was a declared French major. In high school I had heard of the field of linguistics as dealing with the study of language, but… I wanted to actually learn the languages…One of my requirements as a language major was to take Intro to Language, and that is when I really got interested in linguistics. The first thing that got my attention was transcribing things in IPA and just learning about all the aspects of language that we take for granted.
Growing up hearing and speaking three languages, Portuguese from my mother, French from my father and English everywhere else, I have always been obsessed with languages. The Linguistics Department at Georgetown just provided me another outlet for this passion of mine. Every class seemed more interesting than the next and I just kept taking classes until I realized I should probably declare my second major as Linguistics.
Every linguistics professor I have had so far is noticeably passionate about their job and their work, and that in turn makes the students enjoy linguistics. I am also extremely interested in the process of teaching and learning languages since I might want to go into the Peace Corps at some point or be a language teacher somewhere in the world.
I would recommend being a Linguistics major to anyone with even the slightest interest in languages because there is a field for everything.
I chose Linguistics because to me, Linguistics is like a Communications major with scientific data to back it up. In my linguistics classes, I am taught to think logically and scientifically about the world around me as I learn to appreciate the fact that there are no simple answers when it comes to analyzing communication. I like that my Linguistics classes are relevant to my life in addition to being academic and cerebral. Being a Linguistics major has made me a better communicator and a better leader, skills that will serve me well in whichever career I choose to pursue.
Since I was little I have always loved words, writing, reading; I was fascinated by the game “hangman” before I could really even read… I went through a phase of novel-writing, of people telling me I was going to be the next Stephen King, but I realized in high school that I preferred looking at and editing other people’s work to creating my own. I didn’t feel that creativity was my strong point as much as being analytical was. I started taking foreign languages, I took a linguistics class in community college, and in the end I’ve realized that linguistics fits me perfectly: I can focus on my love of language in an analytical way.
I chose linguistics as a major because, quite simply, it fascinates me. In high school I had to do a bit of research just to figure out exactly what “linguistics” meant, but once I read about it I wanted to get involved. I feel that it’s a very interesting field with a lot of possibilities and a unique major that can introduce me to ideas about language that I have never thought about before.
In middle school, I found that I loved Spanish. I thought it was really cool to learn a whole new language and way of communicating. Sophomore year of high school, I discovered I loved Latin as well, and the ability to read works written by authors thousands of years ago, just as they were written then. By the time I applied to college, I figured that I loved language on the whole and decided to apply as a Linguistics major… It only took a few weeks of Intro to Language and a glimpse at all the different aspects of linguistic study to confirm my beliefs. Now I can’t get enough of it!
When I was in fourth grade, I started failing Spanish class. My mother was concerned because she had always valued my Spanish education as a life skill. It turns out that in all the previous Spanish classes we had only been studying vocabulary, and this year verbs had been introduced. I couldn’t understand why the teacher was marking the board up with a list of pronouns and then writing the verb in different ways next to the words. I finished fourth grade with a low C in Spanish, but my fifth grade teacher kept me after class for extra help when it was clear I was still a poor student. I still remember when she explained to me that when we talk, we say “I eat” but then change the word eat to “eat” for “She eats.” I had been changing verb forms to match their subject my whole life and never took notice of it, and the same rule was going to apply in the Spanish language.
I think it was really that moment that I realized there were common rules between languages, that there was deeper meaning to language, and it was all around us, all the time… from then on, I don’t think I could have become anything else besides a Linguistics major.