Linguists study languages from various points of view, including meaning, structure, acquisition, evolution and functions in society.

If you study linguistics, you will explore and learn to describe features commons to all languages and speech communities, as well as the extent to which languages and speech communities can differ from each other. You will learn about the role languages play in culture, communication, cognition and emotion.

Different branches of linguistics focus on different aspects of languages. These include sounds (phonetics and phonology), sentence structures (syntax), meaning (semantics), conversation and text structures (discourse), and human interaction (pragmatics).

Courses taught in linguistics at ANU are both theoretically and practically oriented. They address old and new theoretical debates, present different approaches, and give students training in applications of linguistics ‘in the stream of life’.

You will be exposed to fascinating material from a wide variety of languages, and will be able to carry out original work on any of a number of different languages, across many domains.

You will also learn to understand and to use a range of different research methods, the application of linguistics to language teaching, international communication, translation, language in politics and in international relations, and language in society.

Career options

Studying linguistics gives you an understanding of many aspects of human communication, and the problem-solving and analytical skills acquired can be used in many areas.

It opens the way to all kinds of employment in fields that rely on communication such as health, education, law and policy-making. It provides valuable background knowledge for anyone going into language technology, anthropology, legal drafting, translation, editing, speech pathology or audiology, and Aboriginal education.

Many graduates have gone on to careers in language technology, teaching linguistics, English or a foreign language, or even going out into ‘the field’ to describe a previously unstudied language.

Programs and courses

Updated:  20 June 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications