Linguistics

What is a Major in Linguistics?

 Language permeates human thought, behavior, and interaction. Our ability to communicate through spoken and written language, more than any other attribute, distinguishes us as human beings. Linguistics is the study of the uniquely human tool of language.

The field of linguistics includes several specialties:

• Theoretical and descriptive linguistics uncover the universal principles of language, those which govern the structure of sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and discourse. They also explore how these principles are expressed in particular languages and how they change over time.

• Sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics study the relation between language and culture, and society.

• Psycholinguistics explores language as cognitive behavior, including children’s acquisition of language and language production and comprehension. 

Linguists also relate the study of language to subject areas such as biology, sociology, philosophy, literature, and education, especially with respect to language teaching. At UCSB, the Department of Linguistics offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in Language, Culture and Society which focuses on language in its social setting. All students majoring in Linguistics take core courses in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and language change.

Major, General, and Career Information

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