Linguistics Vs English Major
Many students pursue an English major because of a love of language and literature. A graduate with an English degree can find work in the fields of law, teaching, business, and journalism.
Systems of power shape literature, language, and culture, elevating some voices and stories and marginalizing others. English majors learn to question these hierarchies in their work.
English literature is one of the most popular degrees out there, offering a wealth of graduate opportunities. The degree immerses students in a variety of narratives from different time periods and locations, helping them develop their critical thinking, reading comprehension and research skills.
It also gives them the tools they need to become great communicators, which is increasingly important in our ever-changing world. According to Lee, it is the “soft” skills developed through English literature that make it a valuable degree choice for almost any industry, with graduates often moving on to careers in law, education, journalism and more.
Among those with an English Literature degree are many famous names, including Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, comedian Stephen Fry and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. It is also a degree that lends itself to postgraduate study in areas like linguistics, education or film.
The study of language allows you to better understand the world around you. It is a cross-disciplinary field that can be used to complement studies in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It is often integrated into programs in communications, foreign languages, history and literature. Linguistics is also often an area of study for students pursuing careers in law, education, anthropology, sociology, computer science and psychology.
The core areas of linguistics are phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics and discourse analysis. Derived linguistic disciplines include formal semantics, pragmatics and cognitive linguistics. These linguistic disciplines use the tools of core linguistics to investigate and explain patterns observed in the world’s languages. They may research and analyze the sound of different languages, document a language and run carefully-designed experiments to gain insight into language use and development. They may use statistics, mathematics and logical formalism to help them understand these patterns. These insights can also be applied to teaching language or interpreting and translating.
English Language Teaching
Having an in-depth knowledge about linguistics is very important for English language teachers. They need to understand how the structure of a language is made up of small units such as phonemes, or larger units like sentences and discourse structures. They also need to know about the socio-cultural background of their students, so they can better understand if certain speech forms are actually characteristics of the students’ culture or if they are a result of some kind of developmental malfunction.
If a student wants to teach English as a second language (ESL) in the United States or abroad, they will need a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and certification in ESL pedagogy. If a student wants to teach at the university level, they will need a bachelor’s in linguistics or a master’s in the specific field of the subject they want to teach. A master’s in linguistics can open up the door to teaching positions in departments such as Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Speech/Communication Sciences, and departments focused on specific foreign languages.
English as a Second Language
The study of English as a second language (ESL) is an important part of the linguistics field. ESL refers to the teaching of English in a country where the students’ native language is not English. It is also known as English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
Linguistics is important to ESL/EFL teachers because it supports them in understanding that the speech forms they value may be specific to their culture and background and do not necessarily reflect the most effective ways for students to use the language. Without this knowledge, they can easily fall into valuing a form of English that their students cannot understand or that has different meanings for them.
Linguistics is also essential to TESOL/TEFL learners as it supports them in understanding the backgrounds of popular expressions and idioms. This helps them to recognize how certain words are pronounced differently, and to simplify their spellings. It also supports them in comprehending the differences between various alphabets and their sounds.