How realistic is it, career wise, to major in linguistics? I absolutely LOVE linguistics and hope to study it at a university, but what is your honest opinion of the career options?
— asked by Anonymous
My honest opinion is that I have no idea. I’m 18, so I know as much as anyone else that can google the question and get canned responses. I’m not one to ask for experience-related questions. Sorry!
From what I’ve heard, though, many pursuits require a bit more focus. Linguistics can lead to fields such as speech pathology, special understanding of native and foreign languages, psycholinguistics and cognitive sciences, neurolinguistics, fieldwork (including documenting rare, endangered, etc. languages), historical linguistics, lexicography, etymology, etc. Hell, knowledge of wording and pleasing sound combinations could be useful to advertising companies, and actors sometimes require speech specialists that can help and explain particular notes on pronunciation, intonation, etc. It’s a really wide field if you think about it.
To be honest, I think it’s hard to talk about job prospects without being more specific. It’s like saying “what can I do if I like biology?”: field specialization is pretty crucial for determining what’s available.