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Definition of Linguistics - is the science of language, including the sounds, words and grammar rules. Words in languages are finite, but sentences are not. It is this creative aspect of human language that sets it apart from animal languages, which are essentially responses to stimuli.

The rules of a language, also called grammar, are learned as one acquires a language. These rules include phonetics, the study of the different sounds that are employed in a language; phonology, the study of patterns of a language's basic sounds; morphology, the study of the internal structure of words; syntax, the study of how words combine to form grammatical sentences semantics, the study of the literal meaning of words (lexical semantics), and how these combine to form the literal meanings of sentences; stylistics, the study of style in languages; pragmatics, the study of how utterances are used (literally, figuratively, or otherwise) in communicative acts; phonosemantics, the study of the meaning and symbolism of vocal sounds.

There are two types of grammars:

1. Descriptive
2. Prescriptive

Descriptive grammars represent the unconscious knowledge of a language. English speakers, for example, know that "me likes apples" is incorrect and "I like apples" is correct, although the speaker may not be able to explain why. Descriptive grammars do not teach the rules of a language, but rather describe rules that are already known. In contrast, prescriptive grammars dictate what a speaker's grammar should be and they include teaching grammars, which are written to help teach a foreign language.

There are about 5,000 languages in the world right now (give or take a few thousand), and linguists have discovered that these languages are more alike than different from each other. There are universal concepts and properties that are shared by all languages and these principles are contained in the Universal Grammar, which forms the basis of all possible human languages.

Importance of Linguistics

  • Linguistics takes an analytical approach to the study of language, and Linguistics concentrators develop skills in data analysis, problem solving, and logical thinking that can be applied to many fields.
  • language is a universal human characteristic, and a component unique to the human mind/brain, studying the nature of human language provides important insight into human cognitive abilities
  • Linguists who study the social aspects of language also investigate such topics as how and why languages change over time, how new languages are created when speakers of divergent languages come into contact, how language attitudes are used to maintain forms of discrimination, how conversations are social transactions, the relation between language and power, and the use of language in the media.

Linguistic Person should be

  • In order to build a career in the field of linguistics, a person should have proficiency in reading, writing as well as speaking the language, in which he/she is conducting the study.
  • Apart from this, he/she should be well aware of the variations in the meaning and pronunciation of the words of the language.
  • He/she has to discover the social, historical, psychological, economical, biological, and political characteristics of a language.
  • In-depth knowledge of various languages develops better writing and argumentative skills, which are much needed for excelling in the field of linguistics.
  • The job requires hard work and dedication. Cultural and lot of other features helps a linguistic to identify the ambiguity of speech, sound, words and sentences.
  • Systematic research is required to gain such an in-depth knowledge regarding various facets of a language.

Research areas of linguistics

phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, etymology, lexicology, lexicography, theoretical linguistics, historical-comparative linguistics and descriptive linguistics, linguistic typology, computational linguistics, corpus linguistics, semiotics.

Inter-disciplinary linguistic research

applied linguistics, historical linguistics, orthography, writing systems, comparative linguistics, cryptanalysis, decipherment, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, critical discourse analysis, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, evolutionary linguistics, anthropological linguistics, stratificational linguistics, cognitive science, neurolinguistics, and in computer science there is natural language understanding, speech recognition, speaker recognition (authentication), speech synthesis, and more generally, speech processing

Career/scope/opportunities in Linguistics

Career in the field of linguistics can prove to be very lucrative.

  • One can opt for a career as lecturer in various institutions that impart education in Indian languages. People having done post graduation in linguistics are also recruited in hospitals as speech therapists or Neuro linguists, who treat speech problems in children and adults.
  • One can also be employed as speech trainer in call centers
  • After pursuing course in linguistics, one can also opt for working in the field of medical transcription, advertisement, journalism, business and corporate communication.
  • One can be employed in software companies, which write programs used for teaching a language.
  • A degree/diploma in linguists can help in interpretation of rare dialects.
  • Institutes like the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Mysore and the Institute of Hindi Language in Delhi along with the Anthropological Survey of India are places where job opportunities are available in India.

Scope for a Career in Linguistics Abroad: A degree in Linguistics coupled with technical expertise can get linguists good jobs in software companies abroad for writing programs for computers which are subsequently used for teaching a language. Linguists are hired by foreign universities to decipher rare dialects as a part of a specific project. You can also be a faculty of Linguistics abroad if you are armed with a post graduation degree. Publishers abroad often recruit linguists for online dictionaries.

Course Details for Linguistics/ Languages

Several under graduate and post graduate degree and diploma programs are conducted in the field of linguistics by various universities/institutes all over India. These programs provide specialized training and detailed knowledge in the field. The pre-requisite condition to seek admission in undergraduate program is a pass in 10+2 examination. To pursue education at post graduate level, one should possess a graduation in linguistics or degree in any stream. Preference is given to arts scholars or those with linguistic educational background.


Under Graduate

  • BA Applied Linguistics
  • BA Linguistics
  • Bachelor of Arts  ( Tamil)
  • B.A. Tamil Literature
  • B.A. English Literature
  • B.A. English Literature with CA


  • M.A. Applied Linguistics
  • M.A. Linguistics
  • M.A. Comparative Literature & Linguistics
  • M.A. Bengali ( Linguistic)
  • M.A. (Applied Linguistics)
  • M.A. in Sanskrit Linguistics
  • M.A. in English ( Language & Linguistics)
  • M.A. Urdu Specialisation  Linguistics & Poetry               
  • M. Sc in Cognitive Science : Computational Linguistics
  • M.Phil. Applied Linguistics
  • M.Phil. Linguistics and Phonetics
  • M. Tech in Computational Engineering and Net working ( Computational Linguistics)
  • ME in Computer Science and Engineering Computational Linguistics
  • D. Litt in Linguistics
  • PhD in Sanskrit specialisation Sanskrit Linguistics
  • Ph.D. Applied Linguistics
  • Ph.D. Linguistics and Phonetics
  • Ph. D Filed Linguistics


  • PG Diploma in Kannada Language
  • PG Diploma in Clinical Linguistics
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Sanskrit
  • Advanced Diploma in Applied Linguistics
  • P.G. Diploma in Linguistics

Certificate Course

  • Certificate Course in Linguistics         


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