Anonymous asked: as someone interesting in linguistics and considering perusing a major in it in college, i was wondering what kind of work i could get into??
Oh there’s so much! Linguistics is a massive field, so that’s something to definitely take into consideration when applying for colleges (if you haven’t already begun), because not all universities will offer every kind of linguistics.
There are heaps of jobs in applied linguistics, such as speech pathology, language teaching and translation. These usually involve studying linguistics in some capacity, but usually require specific courses or degrees. My university (ANU) offers heaps of these kind of courses, but others (even ones famous for their linguistics, like Berkeley) might not. I have a friend who studied language policy for her honours project and is now doing a PhD in Melbourne in the education department looking at language policy. A very brave move in Australia, but definite jobs and the government definitely needs informed people informing their decisions.
Personally, I was always more interested in the theoretical/documentation side of things. Jobs coming out of this are a little more complicated and often involve a lot of further study. I want to research, so that basically means I’m locked into doing a PhD and working in academia (unless you do very specific research for companies, such as developing various technologies to do with speech recognition etc. There were a lot of jobs going in that field when I graduated, one company in particular actually contacted our head of school looking for graduates. On that note, something my uni didn’t offer was psycholinguistics, which I’m really bummed about. It can lead into very practically applicable research jobs). The kind of work I would like to do involves getting teaching/research jobs at universities and securing grant money to fund research. Fortunately, there’s a fair bit of grant money around to support worthwhile linguistics research. At the moment I’m working on a research project which is funded by generous grants from the Australian Research Council.
I mean, I guess it all depends on what you’re interested in. Even if you don’t wanna become a researcher or teacher or speech pathologist or any of those things, if you think you’d enjoy studying linguistics, go for it. It’s a respectable major for a liberal arts college degree (at risk of offending all my friends, I’d say it’s the most respectable). As you go through different classes, you’ll work out what you like and then you’ll be able to go from there. Ask the professors, they can put you in contact with the right people. The major point is there are jobs in linguistics.
This has been fairly convoluted, I know, but you should definitely check out what allthingslinguistic has to say about jobs in linguistics here.