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Shall I go for a degree in linguistics?

 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
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 Message 1 of 8
17 May 2014 at 4:13am | IP Logged 
Hi there,

I am a big language fan and i've always been interested in those less known and dying languages. Recently I've been seriouly considering working towards a degree in linguistics so I can fulfill my dream of saving the world's endangered languages. I am already in my late 20's, hold a master's degree in a field which has basically nothing to do with linguistics, no savings, don't like my job and can lose it any time. So my questions are:

1. is linguistics the right direction? or is there some other disciplines that fit my goal better.
2. is it worth it? I want to pursue my dream but I also need to make sure I am able to pay my bills.

Please any suggestion/information will be appreciated.

Edited by Fasulye on 26 May 2014 at 8:44pm

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 Message 2 of 8
18 May 2014 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
Hey camus, I would say if you want a degree in linguistics then do it. I personally would not go for the degree just for the sake of going for the degree. If you want to save the world's endangered languages, you certainly do not need the permission of academia. Just do it.

I cannot speak intelligently about the payscale for someone with a degree in linguistics but I would venture to say you will just increase your debt load with poor market prospects.

That is just my opinion, take it for what it is worth.
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 Message 3 of 8
18 May 2014 at 4:24pm | IP Logged 
Is it in any way possible to integrate language into the thing you have a master's degree in?

Linguistics in itself is great, but the pay depends on exactly what you do. If you get to be a linguistical advisor for a company, you can make alright money, if you study languages and write papers you're constantly on the hunt for grants. Then again you could try to devise language courses and give courses in English for Chinese companies that pay for their employees' language courses. I'd say go for it but don't forget to think about the ways you want to use your linguistical expertise.

//Of course, if you get a PhD in the field of linguistics you want to, then you can start thinking about applying to be a professor or lecturer at a university.

Edited by Henkkles on 18 May 2014 at 4:26pm

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 Message 4 of 8
19 May 2014 at 12:49am | IP Logged 
I don't know much about the goal you have talked about, but from what I remember,
PRofessor Arguelles, seems to have not so much respect for the field of linguistics, at
least as conventionally practiced, but, for people who are interested in actually
learning lots of languages (which apparently conventional linguistics academics are
not), then I think he recommends something like comparative philology.

You might try looking at his website, and seeing if there is anything there that might
help. You might even try emailing him. If the question were intelligently posed and
polite, he might well reply.

Alexander Arguelles

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 Message 5 of 8
19 May 2014 at 1:35am | IP Logged 
I know someone who's working as a linguist for Google plus has been doing a side project in language
revitalization. So it's possible to work in the field.
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 Message 6 of 8
19 May 2014 at 9:03am | IP Logged 
camus wrote:

2. is it worth it? I want to pursue my dream but I also need to make sure I am able to pay my bills.

What exactly do you intend to do after your studies? That's the most important question you have to answer to yourself first. Set a realistic goal. Then make a plan and take action. But I wouldn't study something on a whim because I find it interesting and want to "save languages".
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 Message 7 of 8
19 May 2014 at 3:19pm | IP Logged 
What kind of person are you? Do you find it easy to convince people to employ you/give you work?

Also, what makes you think that you will not lose your enthusiasm for languages? I mean, how did you decide to get your current degree? (Was it more or less decided for you?)
Do you have contact to speakers of an endangered language or are you a heritage speaker yourself? Is there any place around you where you might volunteer (hint, New York is said to have the highest concentration of speakers of endangered languages in the world, other big cities may be similar)?
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 Message 8 of 8
19 May 2014 at 5:43pm | IP Logged 
If you can do a distance masters, then it's not necessarily going to be a massive financial burden. I know someone who is doing an applied linguistics masters and he combines that with a job teaching English. I think he paid roughly ¬£5000 for it, which he'll make back in less than a year once he has it. But he did it as part of a career he already has so the employment prospects are more obvious. But a lot of European universities do courses in English for much cheaper than UK or US ones and if they're distance, then you don't even need the added cost/visa issues of living in Europe. Often a distance course has the same fees for non-EU students.

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