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Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in humanities with a linguistics focus

By: Paige Scofield
Campus Life Editor

Western offers a wide variety of degrees that students can major in, many of which students don’t know are offered or know next to nothing about. This week, take a look at what receiving a Bachelor of Arts in humanities with a linguistics focus entails, and the fields of work it can lead to.

Rachel Gries is a senior at Western who is currently in the process of receiving a degree in humanities with a Linguistic focus.

When asked why she decided to become a humanities with a linguistic focus major, Gries replied, “I started doing English actually, because what I really came here for was linguistics. But I’m not really into lit and all that, and most of the English major is all lit classes, which is not great for me.”

“Humanities is just kind of like everything. Some of the focus areas you could do could be Spanish, communications, French, German, linguistics, philosophy, writing. There’s all kinds of stuff humanities encompasses,” explained Gries.

When asked what job she wants to pursue with her linguistics focus Gries replied, “I want to work for Google and work on speech recognition or speech to text.”

“Like with speech to text there are so many words, like merry. Am I saying merry, like joyful, or am I saying marry, like marriage, or am I saying someone’s name?” said Gries.

According to Western’s website the, “Humanities majors and minors explore that unique human creation, language–not only for communication but also in culture, literary art, and philosophical and religious thought.”

Some fields that can be pursued after study linguistics include: teaching English as a second language, education, language documentation, fieldwork, being a consultant on language and teaching at a university level. This is just a short list of the kind of jobs one can pursue as a career after studying linguistics.

When asked what her favorite class that she’s taken for her major was Greis replied, “I really liked Corpus Linguistics, which is like computerized. I put all of the text of Jane Eyre into a corpus, because I had to write a paper about it for another class,” explained Gries. “It was about the supernatural aspects of Jane Eyre. I went through the corpus and used an online tagger, so it finds every word related to religion or the supernatural. So, instead of having to reread the book, looking for every example, I can just search it.”
“I also loved the class Structure of English Grammar. It’s literally about how the English language works. Like, what’s a noun, what’s a verb. I really like the professor for it, and she taught really well, so I looked forward to going to that class. It’s taught by Cornelia Paraskevas.”

When asked why she thinks linguistics is important, Gries replied, “Linguistics applies to a lot of stuff. It changes the way you think about the words you’re saying. Imagine not being able to say ‘in this’ or ‘on that,’ it’s the littlest words that give us the most information about our language.”

Contact the author at journalcampuslife@wou.edu