Linguist

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A Linguist is a specialist in languages and the scientific study of language. They are concerned with the universals concerning language, that is, the common elements of all languages, placing these in theoretical framework and predicting what can or can not occur in language. This focus can take place within several disciplines of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and language acquisition.

Linguists are able to obtain careers in a variety of areas including:

  • computers, engineering and technology - machine translation, voice recognition software, technology and software design, medical research
  • community language work - working with migrant and Aboriginal communities, devising language and educational programs, advising on language policies
  • field linguistics - aboriginal centres, anthropological linguistics
  • language policy work and other government positions
  • interpreting and translating

Some specialist areas include:

  • forensic linguists - using investigative measures to assist in criminal investigations
  • sociolinguistics - study interrelationships of language and social structure linguistic variation, and attitudes toward language
  • neurolinguistics - study production, perception and acquisition of language functions of the brain
  • historical linguistics - study language change and the relationships between languages
  • anthropological linguistics - study the interaction between language and culture
  • pragmatics - studies meaning in context

Because of the nature of the linguistics degree, many careers are available, whether directly related to linguistics or not. This is due to the high level of transferable skills, such as communication and analytical skills, generated during the study of this major. For employment in the career areas listed above, you will only need an undergraduate degree, however, you may need to expand your studies, or combine them with another area, depending on the field you are interested in. To obtain employment in specialised fields within linguistics, postgraduate studies are often required, with some degree of experience.