On 5th July, 2022, the University of Kashmir issued a notification (UG Admission notification-2022 (Regular) under NEP-2020) for the Bachelors Program in nine major subjects including Linguistics in various colleges of the Kashmir University. To mention Linguistics separately here is essentially because Linguistics has been introduced as a major subject first time in the colleges of the University of Kashmir as per the new education policy. We got many calls from the young students who want to choose Linguistics as a career but are unaware about the Linguistics as a subject and its applications and scope, and assume like common masses that a linguist is someone who knows many languages. In order to help those students in particular and the common people in general, we attempted to answer few questions and throw a light on the nature and scope of the linguistic studies.
Linguistics refers to the scientific study of language. The word ‘linguistics’ is derived from the Latin words ‘lingua’ meaning ‘tongue’ and ‘istics’ meaning ‘knowledge’. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, linguistics refers to ‘the scientific study of the structure and development of language in general or of particular languages’. The study of linguistics comes from the natural curiosity of man about the particulars of the language he speaks, evaluated through different perspectives. Referred to as the scientific study of Languages, Linguistics is an expanding domain of study which explores the structure, evolution and diverse communicational aspects of varied languages. It emerged with a natural curiosity to explore the formation and development of languages, how they are formed, the context they evolve in and the factors that impact their development. For those inclined towards studying languages and how they evolved over a long period of time, Linguistics is surely an intriguing discipline. We will further discuss the scope of Linguistics, its varied branches, jobs you can explore as well as top universities offering academic programs in this field.
Why Study Linguistics?
The study of linguistics is aimed at achieving the following major objectives. (i) To understand the evolution and nature of a language (ii) To comprehend the theory of language and understand other languages in the context of the same (iii) To perceive the incremental role of languages in human evolution and society (iv) To explore how languages and dialect evolve and grow over time (v) To discover the varied aspects of a language such as Speech Therapy, Neurolinguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing, Machine Language Learning and Translation, Artificial Intelligence, Forensic Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Anthropological Applications, Psychological aspects and so on. Owing to the immense scope of Linguistics, it has become a popular field of study and is taught in all top universities of the world.
Career Scope of Linguistics
Getting a degree in linguistics opens up numerous profession pathways. Linguistics is always in demand across a plethora of sectors such as government, research, corporate, etc. It is a very dynamic domain of study. Linguistics is applied to different fields of study, and this makes it a very important discipline. As a matter of fact, the scope of Linguistics is vast as it is an expansive and complex field of study which includes various aspects of a language such as phonetics, semantics, syntax, morphology, stylistics, amongst others.
The study of Linguistics is also interdisciplinary as it has many varied specialisations such as Sociolinguistics, Computational Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Psycholinguistics and so on. It is regarded as a descriptive field of study since it is always changing as languages evolve and change. So, as the new developments occur in any language, Linguistics as a field of study expands and is considered dynamic, as the historical aspects of languages and dialects go from old to new.
Another reason why there is an immense scope of Linguistics is that this area is also applied in various other fields especially Speech Therapy in Modern Medicine, Literature, Anthropology, Sociology, amongst others. Many research studies have also significantly highlighted the role of linguistics in every language as well as for comprehending the varied aspects of literature in terms of prose and poems. Owing to the immense scope of Linguistics, it has become a popular field of study as it provides you with varied perspectives of how human languages evolved and the factors that affected them be it social, literary, economic, political, geographical, psychological, etc.
Along with these, here are some more job opportunities coming under the career scope of Linguistics:
· Speech Pathologist.
· Psycholinguists/Sociolinguists/Historical linguists.
· Cognitive Linguist.
· Forensic Linguist.
· Mathematical Linguist.
· Computational linguist.
· Accent Coach.
· Foreign/English language teacher.
· Lexicographer etc.
Some of the famous universities which offer different course in Linguistics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
The University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom()
Harvard University (United States)
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Stanford University (United Kingdom)
University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (India)
Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) Mysore
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
The University of California, Berkeley
University of Victoria
University of Sydney
Indian Institutes of Technology
Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)
(Author is PhD (Linguistics) from the University of Kashmir and currently teaches at the Altaf Memorial Government Degree College Kilam)