Language is so much a part of our everyday lives that we rarely, if ever, stop to consider what it's like, how it functions, its role in social organisation and the way it varies and changes over time

Linguistics is the science of language. It is not about learning a new language; rather, we study everything about language itself, ranging from how speech is produced to the relationship between language and the human mind / brain, and the role language plays in society.

While the subject focuses on language as a phenomenon, we are also interested in the structures and properties to be found in particular languages. Thus, Linguistics is divided into several overlapping specialist fields:

  • phonetics, the study of speech sounds;
  • morphology, the study of words and word formation;
  • syntax, the study of sentence structure;
  • semantics, the study of meaning;
  • sociolinguistics, the study of language in its social context;
  • neurolinguistics, the study of language and the brain;
  • and many more.

Graduates in linguistics find employment in very diverse fields, including publishing, investment banking, research, second language teaching, and materials development. Other careers open to linguists include: journalism, editing, advertising, script writing, language policy work, educational research, and project management.

Linguistics is offered through the Faculty's School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics (AXL). For more information, visit the AXL website.