a reader of the page writes:As a member of the tribe, I could shed some light on the question of what to do with a linguistics degree: I spent the first years in academia before bailing (I'm now a magazine editor), but many of my friends from grad school now work for Google, Apple, and Bell Labs, among other real-world institutions, and are now making actual money. (Oh, that I didn't hate computers so much!) Anytime you use a voice-recognition or auto-translation program, thank someone with a linguistics degree (and yes, we know they're not perfect -- far from it.) Linguistics also help develop web search algorithms (who do you think decides which dumb ads to run in the sidebar of this page?) as well as teaching materials for English as a second language programs. And one of my former colleagues has crossed over to the dark side and now designs language assessment tests for ETS.So yes, there are plenty of marketable things one can do with a linguistics degree.And by the way, did you know that the word "sycophant" comes from the Greek term "one who shows figs"? Seriously, check it out.
You're so amazingly cool and awesome for knowing that! While checking out "sycophant", I found a delightfully time-wasting site with free little word games including a spelling bee. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lookup.htm
I don't know if the question: "What can one do apart from teach," was posed seriously, or to mock those who study Linguistics, but I'll take it as a serious one instead of getting defensive.Most of my friends from grad school who went this route ended up teaching ESL. Others are cataloguing dying languages for different historical foundations and still others work for magazines such as National Geographic and the Smithsonian from time to time as "expert consultants" when they're not teaching. A few ended up working in speech therapy (having focused on psycholinguistics and other such areas of linguistics) and I know one who is a forensic person who works for one of those NSA/FBI?CIA organizations and helps to analyze the language of things like ransom notes. Another friend works at Yahoo doing computational linguistics. Like any field, though, those who don't study it or haven't taken a course think it's all about being a Vocabulary/Grammar Nazi.This link shows the areas that are covered by Linguistics. While it's something I studied earlier in my career, because I wanted to be an interpreter, I ended up going a different route with my PhD.
The comic strip mocks linguists, but the question is sincere. Thanks for answering it seriously. The only linguistics-related job outside of academia that I knew about involved that guy who devised Klingon for the Star Trek series.Linguistics was one of my many early majors. Dialects, creoles, and early childhood language acquisition fascinate me still, and I enjoyed the puzzles of morphophonemic rules until I advanced to the ones that made my brain ache. It was a semantics class that finally sent me packing; we spent a month picking apart jokes and puns to learn why people laugh. Kind of like pulling the wings off a butterfly to learn why they're beautiful.
Linguistics lost me when I was in a graduate Psycholinguistics seminar: all anatomy and chemistry and brain injuries and such... but I get what you're saying about the jokes (it's sometimes how I feel about teaching lit.).
@Proffie: The humane way to do that would be to use a killing jar. But jokes don't have wings, you know?
@Frod: True, but jokes themselves can kill.
My favorite class in school was linguistics. I took it one summer as it somehow fulfilled my history requirement. I ended up in medicine, but whenever talks of phd's come up, I always wonder if I could somehow get one in linguistics.
ESL (so, yes, teaching, but not necessarily on the college level) seems to be one of the major career paths for the (relatively small, but thriving -- they recently added a Ph.D.) linguistics program at my school. Speech therapy seems to be another area of interest.
I'm listening to MP3's on "shuffle" today and Cal's "Brady Bunch Theme" starts up. I say to myself, "Cool, I forgot I added that to the playlist." And then a few seconds later I realize it's actually Bob Seger's "Like a Rock." The first ten seconds sound the same to me. I guess great minds think alike. Or has Cal been contracting music out to the Silver Bullet Band? Or have I been hallucinating? Or is this even a musicolinguistically-oriented tangent? The answer will reveal itself in more bourbon and hotdogs.
Tangent schmangent. Listening to those songs on MP3s (without watching the videos) really drives home that Cal truly rocks.
I knew there was some weird stuff in hotdogs but I didn't realize that answers was one of them.
@BB: Your love is better than any love I know. It's like thunder and lightning. The way you love me is frightening. If only I weren't so linguistically challenged by drunkenness....
P.S. Answers was one?
My Dad was ABD in the same group at the University of Heidelberg that the Brothers Grimm had been in. No kidding! In those days, what they were study was called philology, but today chances are good it would be called linguistics. He taught high school German and Spanish for 38 years, in an upper-middle class neighborhood. He loved to grouse about how much English grammar he had to teach in his German and Spanish courses. Of course, this was back when teachers still got some respect, and the pay wasn't bad: he made $15,000/year in 1970 (about $65k today). Being a conservative Republican Lutheran all his life, he didn't handle the '60s well. He retired as soon as he turned 65, because he "was tired of being a baby sitter." The straw that broke the camel's back was when a girl he'd liked passed out at his feet from a drug overdose. OFTEN today, whenever a student or university administrator does something egregiously dysfunctional, or snivels with a particularly stupid evasion of responsibility, I think, "Thank God he didn't live to see this!"
Deception: (noun) A group of ten students storming the dean's office, to claim you ripped your face off in class.
I may be recalling this incorrectly (and am I going to google it right now and avoid potential embarrassment? No), but isn't "decimate" to REDUCE TO one-tenth? As in, she ate 90% of the jello salad? That would make more sense given where the word ended up.