What Are the Different Types of Linguistics Careers?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2019
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There are a number of different linguistics careers that may be considered by someone with a strong educational background in linguistics or language. Numerous educational opportunities are available for someone with a degree in linguistics, including anything from teaching secondary languages to college professorships teaching linguistics and performing research. Other scholarly work in linguistics can include preserving dying languages or performing etymological research. There are also more unusual linguistics careers that can be pursued, usually in an advisory capacity, such as speech analysis for law enforcement or assisting in developing computer systems that analyze or create speech.

Linguistics careers usually refer to any type of career in which a person might research or practice different aspects of language or linguistics. The term “linguistics” is typically used to refer to the field of study regarding how people construct and utilize language. Many linguistics careers can be found in different aspects of education. Teachers who specialize in teaching foreign languages, or those who teach the primary language in an area as a secondary language to students from other countries, often have a background in language or linguistics.


Other scholarly work can also be found by those interested in linguistics careers, including work at colleges and universities. Those who teach linguistics at universities typically have a background in language and a degree in linguistics, as well as those who study and research linguistics to develop new ideas and understanding of various linguistic concepts. Other scholarly linguistic careers can include research work into various languages, such as work to document rare or dying languages. Etymological research can also be done on various languages, to determine the origins of words and the history of languages and word usages.

There are also applied linguistics careers, which allow those with a background in linguistics to use their knowledge in ways beyond research and teaching. Speech therapists, for example, often have a background in language or linguistics and work with people to overcome speech or communication disorders. There are even language and dialogue coaches who work with performers to help them overcome or mimic accents or more naturally speak lines of dialogue in a foreign language.

Some linguistics careers can also be found in more unusual fields. A person with a background in linguistics might work with a law enforcement agency to help track down suspects by analyzing speech samples for accents that indicate certain nationalities, or someone might look for “markers” in word use that may indicate potential security threats. Linguistics work can also be found in developing new computer systems with artificial intelligence (AI) designed to identify or replicate spoken language. Computer programmers might work with a linguist to understand how humans perceive and create language, to better emulate such processes in an AI program.


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