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Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

What is Linguistics and Applied Language Studies?

Why do the terms mama, papa, nana, dada appear in the ‘baby talk’ of so many languages? Do women and men speak differently? What goes on in an individual’s mind when they make speech errors such as saying "tip of the slongue" for "slip of the tongue"?

Can we define characteristics of possible versus impossible languages? What might be the best way to learn a language? Are people who are good at music better language learners than other people? Has the internet contributed to language change? Is electronic communication more efficient than face-to-face interaction, or has it generated more problems than it has solved? How useful is technology for language learning and teaching? What are the problems and possibilities in getting computers to ‘understand’ speech? Can the Maori language survive? What are the implications for a country’s education system if there is no one language that is a first language for all its pupils? What can a person’s speech reveal about their social background?

The study of Linguistics offers ways of addressing such questions and supplies tools to explore the structure of language and how it is used in a scientific way..

Why Study Linguistics and Applied Language Studies?


The reason most typically given by graduates of Linguistics for why they studied the subject is that it is a fascinating, stimulating and useful subject that has many applications in the "real world". Students also consider that Linguistics helps them to use both spoken and written language more effectively. Linguistics complements many other areas of study like Business Administration, Computer Science, Education, Mathematics, Management, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Science, and of course, Languages.

Applied Language Studies

The nature of Applied Language Studies is illustrated by activities in the School of Linguistics and Applied Languages such as the Applied Linguistics and Writing programmes, the Deaf Studies Research Unit, and the New Zealand Dictionary Centre. On Applied Linguistics courses students learn to describe language and language use in a way that helps second language learners to understand it. They will understand the psychological processes of learning and using a second language and know how to provide the best learning experiences for language learners. The Second Language Education major is useful for those who are considering a career in second language teaching

What Skills Does the Study of Linguisticsand Applied Language Studies Teach?

  • Research and project management skills
  • Critical Analysis skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Ethics, tolerance and interpersonal skills

Where do Linguisticsand Applied Language Studies Graduates work?

  • Education
  • Training
  • Research and Administration
  • Information Technology and Computer Science
  • Library and information management
  • Advertising, marketing, market research and public relations
  • Media, Journalism, and publishing
  • Interpreting and translating

Further information about Linguistics can be found in the Linguistics and Applied Language Studies Career View (566KB PDF).

See also the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies website.