Augustana’s 20-credit linguistics minor engages students in the scientific study of language. The interdepartmental structure of the minor allows students to approach language and communication from different perspectives.
Linguistics students are encouraged to complement the minor with language study (World Languages and Classics) and to participate in study abroad opportunities offered by International and Off-Campus Programs.
Given that language is a central part of who we are as individuals and members of a society, understanding how and why languages work is not only integral to a liberal arts education but is also a valuable skill.
It complements any major, especially: world languages and classics, business, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, computer science, education, English, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology and anthropology.
Linguistics trains students to approach the study of language scientifically in pursuit of answers to the following questions: how is language structured and represented in the mind and brain?; how are languages acquired, and how do they develop?; how did language(s) evolve?; and how are languages used by those who speak them?
To answer such questions, students take courses dedicated to the principal subfields in linguistics: syntax — the order and relationship among words; morphology — the structure and creation of words; phonetics — the physical properties of sounds; phonology — the mental representation of sounds, and their organization and relation to each other; semantics — the study of meaning; and pragmatics — the use of language in context.
Beyond these core components, students will also explore dialectology, language acquisition, language change, the relationship between language and other cognitive functions, writing systems and translation, and language and society.
Linguistics students are encouraged to supplement their coursework with language study, as “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two” (English author Geoffrey Willans). Linguistics students are similarly encouraged to study abroad given the intimate relationship between language and culture and the firsthand experience of that relationship that foreign study offers.