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Linguistics BA

In one sentence, linguistics is the study of language. This deceptively simple definition conceals some of the greatest human mysteries: how do children—but not adults—pick up language without being taught? Why don’t other animals have language like we do? Why is there so much diversity among languages? Does language shape the way we think?

The Linguistics BA will give you the tools to start answering these questions and asking some of your own. You’ll be introduced to past and current theories of what language is and how it is structured, both in practice and in our minds. You’ll explore the hundreds of different sounds found across the world’s languages. You’ll see how differences in language, big and small, affect how we perceive and treat people. You’ll understand how language changes over time and notice examples of it happening all around you.

Linguistics is an exciting side of the humanities that applies scientific methods to language. As you develop your skills as a linguist, you’ll be able to critically evaluate issues in language policy, attitudes toward “good grammar” and “good style”, methods of language teaching, and more. You’ll come to see the language around you--from the most profound literature to the most mundane conversations--in a new way, and gain a greater appreciation for this window into what it means to be human.

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How Do I Add the Linguistics Major?

The Linguistics BA is an open-enrollment program, meaning there is no limit on how many students can be in it, and there is no special application process. To add a major in Linguistics, visit the MyMap website and click “Change Major Request” on your Student Summary page.

If you have questions, please contact the Liberal Arts Advisement Center (located in 1041 JFSB) at 801-422-3541 or via Y-Message.

Careers with a Linguistics BA

Many students who earn a degree in linguistics go on to further education, such as graduate school in linguistics, law school, or medical school. This might lead to a career as a researcher/professor, forensic (legal) linguist, educational administrator, librarian, lawyer, etc. A linguistics degree will prepare you for a wide number of jobs in the business sphere, especially those involving cross-cultural communication. Graduates may also work in recording endangered languages, lexicography, translation and interpretation, as a government or military linguist, and more.

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Faculty Advisors

If you have questions about the major—whether you’re interested or already enrolled—feel free to schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor. Advisors are assigned based on the first letter of your last name: