B.A. in Linguistics
Study the science of language, which surrounds us, shapes our reality, and is at the very heart of what it means to be "human."
Linguistics majors at the University of Mississippi learn the layers of intertwined systems of language (sound, meaning, organization and context) and study phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. They explore the relationship between language and social factors such as region, ethnicity, gender, and identity; and how language is acquired and changes over time.
Linguistics majors acquire valuable intellectual skills: analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and clarity of expression. Linguistics can provide insight into virtually every other field of study, since every student uses language to learn. Students can engage with faculty on projects in the linguistics research lab.
A liberal arts education prepares graduates to deal with complexity and change. They gain key skills in communication, problem-solving, and working with diverse groups. Related careers in linguistics include education, international business & banking, tourism, journalism, law, foreign service, cultural affairs, military service, and health care.
Students may receive hands-on experience by participating in independent and faculty-led research projects. They may work with experts to answer questions such as: "Why do children seem to have an easier time learning languages than adults?" "Why do people, who speak the same language but live in different parts of the world, say things differently?" "How has language changed over time?" and "Why do we sometimes have difficulty understanding what someone else is saying, even if they are speaking the same language?"
B.A. in Linguistics Faculty
Faculty from multiple departments at the University of Mississippi, including Communication Sciences and Disorders, English, and Modern Languages contribute to this curriculum. Listed below are the core faculty in Modern Languages, with expertise in dialectology, language acquisition, languages in contact, sociolinguistics, speech disorders, discourse analysis, syntax, and translation studies.
A major in linguistics for the B.A. degree requires 30 semester hours of linguistics courses. Students must complete:
- Lin 200; Lin 303;
- two of the following courses in theoretical linguistics: Lin 304, 305, 306;
- one of the following courses in language change & variation: Lin 310, 520, 511, 545;
- and one of the following courses in intercultural communication: Lin 312, 561, 572, 571, 552.
- At least 9 hours must be at the 500 level. A maximum of 15 hours for the major may be taken through an approved study abroad program.
Admission requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics program are the same as the general undergraduate admission requirements.
A transfer student from Northeast Mississippi Community College, Trey (2010) took Introduction to Linguistic Science, Forensic Linguistics, Intro to Chinese, and Intro to French in his first semester at UM. He decided on French and linguistics, ultimately earning a M.A. in French. Trey's interests drew him out into the community in different ways; linguistics courses involved interviewing people or recording conversations. He was also involved in the Oxford Community Garden, Campus for Clean Energy, and a founding leader of the North Central chapter of the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi. Since graduation, Trey has worked with an environmental non-profit and freelance media work. He currently lives in Wales where linguistics helped him learn Welsh and serve as an advocate for minority language speakers in Europe.
Why study linguistics at UM?
"My interest in linguistics began as an accident. I always had an interest in languages, but couldn't decide on just one. Linguistics seemed a good option because it would equip me to learn whatever language was in front of me. It has done that, but it's so much more. I learned not only the structure but the function of language - hint: it's more than just communication. My favorite courses were generally tied to sociolinguistics, where we looked at why and how a language changes within different contexts. That differed greatly from my initial conception of linguistics, but I found something all the more valuable for it."