Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva, Director
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Its various subdisciplines investigate how speech sounds are organized (phonetics and phonology), how words, phrases, and sentences are structured (morphology and syntax), and how meaning is structured and interpreted (semantics and pragmatics). Linguistics also includes the study of how language is learned (language acquisition), how it is represented in the mind (psycholinguistics), how it changes over time (historical linguistics), and how it relates to social and cultural phenomena (sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology).
At the undergraduate level the program offers the possibility of an undergraduate minor or cognate field in linguistics, and knowledge gained in such a course of study can complement a wide variety of disciplines. Students who would especially benefit from a minor or cognate in linguistics are those majoring in anthropology, computer science, English, French, German, philosophy, psychology, and Spanish. A linguistics minor is also good preparation for a graduate program in speech pathology. A student wishing to have linguistics as a major concentration of study may pursue an emphasis in the field through the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.I.S.) degree program. Further information about the B.A.I.S. program may be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The recommended first step in learning about linguistics is LING 101 - Linguistics 1: Introduction to Language which satisfies a Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences Carolina Core requirement. After the introduction gained in this course, the student is prepared for specialized courses on the 200-500 level. (There are, however, no formal prerequisites for these courses.) Possibilities include courses on the structure of human language, language in society, history of language, acquisition of language, and courses devoted to the description of a particular language: English, French, German, or Spanish.
Majoring in one of the related disciplines and minoring in linguistics can prepare students for a variety of careers, including teaching, translating, foreign service, and social work, or for graduate study in linguistics and any of its related fields. For students who want to pursue linguistics past the undergraduate level, the USC Linguistics Program offers a comprehensive graduate program in linguistics, which leads to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees or the Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Programs and Courses