Choosing to Study Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. The use of language is a vital part of what makes us human. Linguists study the formal properties of language, how it evolves, and how it is used in social situations. Though linguists do study topics related to specific languages, the ultimate goal is to understand the nature and purpose of human language use as a whole. Linguistic research advances knowledge on how we communicate, how we function in society, and how we interpret the world around us. The work conducted in our linguistic labs aims to address questions such as how language is acquired in infancy, how second languages are acquired, and how language can be processed by computers. Areas of study and research within linguistics include sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), narratives and conversations (discourse analysis), meaning (semantics and pragmatics), and the study of individual languages such as Indigenous languages.

SFU Linguistics: A World Class Education

Simon Fraser University has one of the largest and most diverse linguistics programs in Canada. We offer a wide range of courses about language at the undergraduate level, including certificate programs in Linguistics of Speech Science and Teaching English as a Second Language. We also offer graduate programs leading to MA and PhD degrees. Research in linguistics at SFU is characterized by interdisciplinarity, breadth in research methodology, and diversity in theoretical perspective.

Career Paths in Linguistics

Linguistics graduates may work as ESL teachers, speech language assistants, and in information technology. With further education, a student can become an audiologist or a speech-language pathologist. A student can also continue graduate studies in Linguistics to become a professional linguist and have a career in education and academia. Learn more here. Our Undergraduate Advisor is available to help with career planning.  

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