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Learn linguistics with online courses and programs

Gain valuable insights into what makes human communication unique and complex. Learn linguistics with online courses delivered through edX.

What is linguistics?

Human language is complex, and language acquisition still isn't fully understood. Linguistics is the scientific study of language and all its forms. It examines both the meaning (semantics) and structure (syntax) of language, as well as its multitude of sounds (phonetics). Linguists study how languages are formed, how they evolve over time, and how they are used in communication. They investigate the cognitive processes involved in language production and comprehension, and analyze the social and cultural factors that influence language use.

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Linguistics course curriculum

Linguistics is a broad field of study, with many potential subjects to explore. A linguistics curriculum can begin with a general overview of the different branches and history of the field, before diving into instruction on more focused topics, including language structure, word formation, semantics, and more. Learners studying the field may cover the relationships between language and society, the psychological processes behind language production, changes in language over time, and language in different cultural contexts. They may also have the chance to learn about computational linguistics, in which computers are used to analyze and process natural language.

Linguistics jobs

Expertise in language analysis and communication can lay the groundwork for a variety of careers including, but not limited to:

  • Language teacher/instructor: Teaches languages to non-native speakers, either as a foreign language teacher or an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor.

  • Translator/interpreter: Builds proficiency in multiple languages and facilitates communication between speakers of different languages in various settings like conferences, meetings, or legal proceedings.

  • Speech-language pathologist: Helps individuals with speech disorders, language impairments, or communication difficulties.

  • Academic researcher: Pursues research and teaching careers at universities and research institutions, contributing to the advancement of linguistic knowledge.

  • Communication specialist: Focuses on improving written and verbal communication within organizations or public institutions.

  • Content developer/editor: Creates and edits content for various media, ensuring linguistic accuracy and coherence.

Each of these roles will have different qualifications that can extend beyond education in the field of linguistics. However, edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics in many different learning formats. ‌

Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals. Find the right course to propel your professional development forward.