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Linguistics examines how different languages work, describing how sounds, words, sentences and conversations combine to express and create meaning. It also studies the uses of language in everyday life, the ways in which it varies across society and evolves over time, and how it is mastered by children.
Linguistics can be studied as part of a combined honours degree with a range of other subjects.
The University of Edinburgh has a long history of the subject and our teaching staff have an excellent reputation for research in this area.
Linguistics is a new subject for nearly all undergraduates so no prior knowledge is required at the beginning of the programme.
You will take a carefully designed introductory course, which introduces the principles of theoretical linguistics. You will also study the way we learn language, the regional and social variations of language in general, and of the English language in particular, and methods of communication.
You will take two further courses (one in the case of some joint honours degrees) looking at linguistic theory and research techniques, the structure of spoken and written English and other languages, and at the evolution of language and the patterns of linguistic change attested to in the world’s languages.
You will study core courses and choose from a range of advanced linguistics modules such as Syntactic and Phonological Theory, Language Acquisition, Bilingualism, Language and Cognition or The Evolution of Language. If you are studying a combined honours degree in Linguistics with a language, you will spend your third year studying or working abroad.
In your fourth year you will continue to choose specialist modules according to your interests. You will also take a specialised research training course before starting your Honours dissertation, regarded by many as the most formative experience of their undergraduate career.
Most courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and some small-group project work. You will also do some independent practical work in your first year and more independent study in third and fourth years.
During the first two years you will undergo continuous assessment through tests and assignments. In third and fourth year, you will be assessed through exams, projects and your dissertation.
Linguistics graduates can use their degree to work in speech therapy or adult literacy, or teach English as a foreign language. Alternatively you could work in a wide range of other fields such as journalism, diplomacy, translation and marketing. Recent graduates have taken up funded places on MSc programmes or have found positions employed in speech technology research.
Teaching will take place in the Linguistic computer labs and other teaching facilities located within the University’s Central Area. You can also use the School’s excellent facilities for practical work. These include a recording studio, a perception experiment laboratory and the Eyetracking Lab, which is run jointly with the School of Informatics. You will also have access to the University’s library and computer facilities.
There are opportunities to study abroad through ERASMUS or the University’s International Exchange Programme.
I studied Linguistics and English Language and loved it! The Linguistics degree was challenging and encouraged self-study, research and original ideas. If you want to find out more about other languages, cultures, why we speak the way we do and how we speak at all, Linguistics is the subject for you!
This article was published on Jun 29, 2012