Linguistics is the study of how languages work, where they come from, how they are used in society, how they change over time and how they are learned. Interested in any of these areas? Saint Joseph's offers a linguistics major and minor and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) minor.
Linguistics Major Concentrations
Students may follow a general linguistics track or choose one of the following concentrations:
- Speech-Language Pathology (SLP): This concentration, which covers speech science, speech development disorders, communication disorders and more, is designed for students who want a career in speech therapy.
- TESOL: This concentration gives students who are interested in teaching English at home or abroad a strong understanding of linguistics, language acquisition, language teaching methods and more.
Why Study Linguistics?
Linguistics is useful for students in any academic field, especially those who are studying a second language. Linguistics courses heighten our awareness of the complex nature of language and its importance in our daily life.
- work as translators and interpreters.
- carry out linguistic research in areas such as discourse analysis, literacy, bilingualism, language cognition and speech pathology.
- serve as expert witnesses in legal cases involving language-related issues.
- create computer programs that comprehend and/or produce human language.
- teach at colleges and universities.
- teach English or other languages in the U.S. or other countries.
- apply research to concrete situations, such as second language learning, language disorders and speech therapy.
- work on language planning and policy issues.
Applied Linguistics The application of knowledge about language and its acquisition to practical uses such as language teaching, language planning or translation. First Language Acquisition The study of the order, means and rate in which a person learns or acquires a first language. Historical Linguistics The study of how languages change, what kinds of changes occur and why they occur. Morphology The study of how words are created from smaller components called morphemes. Phonetics The study of speech sounds and their physical aspects, how they are produced and how they are perceived. Phonology The study of the inventory of sounds in a language as well as the rules for combining and pronouncing them. Pragmatics The study of how context and situation affect meaning. Psycholinguistics The study of the relationships between psychological and linguistic behavior. Second Language Acquisition The study of the order, means, and rate in which a person learns or acquires a second language. Semantics The study of the meaning of morphemes, words, phrases and sentences. Sociolinguistics The study of language and society, including factors that affect language usage, dialectal differences and language variation and change. Syntax The study of the mental grammar that represents speakers’ knowledge about the rules of sentence formation and structure
- How do children learn to talk?
- When someone has a stroke why does it affect his or her language ability?
- Why do I make mistakes when I’m speaking that I don’t make when I’m writing?
- Are words like “ain’t” and phrases like “He be jammin’” ungrammatical?
- Don’t TV and movies ruin the quality of modern English?
- Why are some languages spoken more quickly than others?
- Do I have to say “may I” or is “can I” okay, too?
- If you don’t learn a second language before you are 10 is it still possible?
- People from the South have a heavy accent. Why don’t I have an accent?
- Should everyone who comes to the United States learn English?
- Do I have to go to another country to learn a second language fluently?
- Why can’t computers understand human languages better?
- Why are online translators so terrible?
- Do animals speak their own language?
- Why do judges sometimes consult linguists when evaluating a case?
Explorations in Linguistics
Explorations in Linguistics: An Online Journal of Undergraduate Research was published twice a year by the linguistics program at Saint Joseph’s University. Its goal was to promote undergraduate student research in all areas of linguistics. The journal was directly overseen by an undergraduate student editor and reviewers with input from linguistics faculty.
As of summer 2019, the journal is no longer accepting manuscripts for review.
If you have any questions about the classical studies program or related courses, please contact Jennifer Ewald, Ph.D., our program director.