How Do I Study Linguistics?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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You can study linguistics in a number of different ways, though they are likely to be either guided or independent study. Guided study typically comes from a teacher or instructor, and classes in linguistics are usually offered as part of a program in language at a college or university. These courses typically begin as basic language study courses, such as English classes in the US, and develop into classes on grammar and various aspects of linguistics such as applied or developmental linguistics. You can also study linguistics through independent study, such as by reading books and looking at websites or articles published by experts in linguistics.

If you want to study linguistics, then you should consider how you learn best and allow yourself to learn in this way. Since linguistics can be a fairly complicated subject, however, many people find it easiest to learn through guided instruction from a teacher or professor. If you want to work professionally in a particular field of linguistics, then this may also be the best choice since you are likely to need a degree for most employment opportunities. This usually begins with a bachelor’s degree in English or linguistics, and then a master’s or doctorate in various aspects of language.


Most people who study linguistics do so at a college or university, and you should look for a school that offers a diverse language program with classes specifically in different aspects of linguistics. These courses usually begin as basic language classes, such as English classes in the US, and then develop into more complex and difficult classes that focus on different aspects of linguistics. You should expect to have classes on subjects as diverse as: grammar, in which you are likely to review and learn various grammatical rules; social linguistics, which often covers how language is developed by and impacts society; and basic linguistics, in which you are likely to learn about phonetic spelling and concepts behind linguistic research and various language development theories.

You can also study linguistics independently, though this may be quite a bit more difficult for many people. There are many books, including numerous textbooks, which you can read to learn about the same aspects of linguistics that are covered in language classes. Some concepts within linguistics, including complex grammatical rules, such as verb valences, and learning a phonetic alphabet can be difficult without an instructor and other students. If you feel you can study linguistics in this way, however, then you should consider a combination of books, scholarly journals, and various Internet resources to expand your understanding of language.


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