Linguistics is the systematic study of human language through analysis of its parts and how they are combined in varying social contexts. The language produced by a child learning to speak varies in analyzable ways from the language that child will speak as an adult. Whether the child is male or female will have an impact on some forms of the language he or she speaks. A person's nationality and ethnicity may require that certain linguistic features be mastered in order to appropriately convey not only information about what is being said, but also information about who is saying it.
The Linguistics program is interdisciplinary, including courses from departments in three colleges. The areas of Anthropology, English, and Speech & Hearing are well represented in the program, and students majoring in any of these fields would be able to "double count" many credits toward Linguistics and one of these majors. In addition, the program includes courses from Communication, Education, Modern Languages and Psychology.
Linguists study the "nuts and bolts" of language in five principal domains:
- Phonetics is the study of the sounds produced by the human body that are used in speech.
- Phonology is the study of the ways those sounds are combined in individual languages to form words .
- Morphology is the study of how words are modified to change their meaning.
- Syntax is the study of how words are combined into sentences following specific rules of order.
- Semantics examines the relationship between form and meaning.
With these basic understandings of the structure of language, students can go on to tailor their degree with a variety of electives that allow them to integrate their linguistic studies with other academic interests. Students may consider combining Linguistics with a second major or a minor in a cognate field, such as Anthropology, Communication, English, French, Spanish, or Speech & Hearing.
Faculty in the Linguistics Program at CSU carry the study of linguistics further, into areas of broader social significance:
- Historical linguistics looks at how languages change over time along with changes in human societies.
- Sociolinguistics is the study of how language and social status interact, principally within one society through regional dialects (or accents) and variation based on factors such as ethnicity and class.
- Anthropological linguistics analyzes how language and social phenomena interact across cultures.
As the only Linguistics program in northeast Ohio, we enjoy the advantages of certain unique strengths provided by the University:
- Faculty members from seven departments, all with doctoral degrees and active research careers;
- Internship opportunities.
Academic emphases available in our program include:
Anthropological linguistics with special attention to African languages, Spanish, language contact, Mayan Languages, and linguistic preservation; Historical linguistics with special attention to the Indo-European language family (with opportunities to study Sanskrit, Classical Armenian, and Hittite); language in social and educational contexts with attention to African-American and other American dialects; and teaching English as a second language (TESOL).
For courses and course information please visit the undergraduate catalog.