Why study linguistics?
What is Linguistics?
Generally speaking, linguistics is defined as the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. Specific branches of linguistics include sociolinguistics, dialectology, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, historical-comparative linguistics, and applied linguistics.
Macquarie University has the largest and most diverse Department of Linguistics in Australia, and many would say internationally. Linguistics at Macquarie focuses on the study of language and its uses and applications in society. It aims to make connections between theoretical, descriptive and applied studies which address problems and issues in human communication. Applied Linguistics has close relationships with other disciplines in the university which have a concern for language and language in use, such as English, anthropology, sociology, psychology, mass communication, modern languages, education, physics, information technology, biology, computing, law, philosophy and management.
Why should you study linguistics?
Linguistics lies across the traditional boundaries of humanities, science, technology and social science since language is a general human asset developed and used by all people in all activities.
As a discipline, linguistics has two main objectives:
- the systematic and analytic study of language itself as our most characteristic and valuable human asset; and
- the study of how humans make use of language in a wide range of contexts as they manage their complex social behaviours and interactions.
Thinking about language and language in use compels us to face to questions such as
- What do we unconsciously know about language?
- How can we learn to talk about it?
- How does language reveal ourselves to ourselves and to others?
- How can we learn to be critical about our linguistic beliefs and prejudices?
- Why do some languages thrive and other languages die out?
- Can anyone learn any language?
These are just some of the questions that interest linguists. Macquarie University aims to enable students to talk and write about language, and challenge some of those prejudices about language and its use that make life difficult for so many.
Some linguistics degrees at Macquarie
- Master of Applied Linguistics
- Master of Applied Linguistics with a specialisation in General Applied Linguistics
- Master of Applied Linguistics with a specialisation in TESOL