Learning to deal with language is the primary goal of this program. The scientific study of human language, linguistics examines the structure of language and how it is acquired, as well as how languages function at the physiological and psychological levels.
The facets of language studied by linguists include sounds (how they are produced, perceived and interpreted), structure (how we come to be able to produce and recognize, with little difficulty, an unlimited number of sentences which we have never heard before), words (how new words are created) and meanings (how we assign meanings to sentences, and how we use language to achieve particular goals when we communicate). Through studying languages other than English, you will understand the commonalities and diversity of language. Linguistics is also about problem-solving. Precise methodology, critical thinking and clear expression are essential, as is the ability to discover the complex patterns embodied in spoken and written words.
Students who wish to make linguistics a component of their degree have a choice between two programs:
1) The Major Concentration in Linguistics is a B.A. (Honours) program which combines a foundation in linguistic theory and analysis with the study of a language offered at Queen's and courses from the disciplines of Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and Computing and Information Science. 2) The Minor Concentration in Linguistics is designed for students who wish to pursue a B.A. (Honours) combining Linguistics with a Major in a second discipline of their choice. The Minor Concentration in Linguistics consists of courses in linguistic theory and analysis, and courses in related cognitive disciplines.
In addition to its two programs, Linguistics welcomes students who wish to take elective courses in linguistics.
We encourage students to spend their third year of study at another university in Canada or abroad. While away, students take additional language courses, and courses in linguistics or related cognitive fields which are not offered at Queen's.
The programs offered by Linguistics provide a good basis for later work in fields such as Linguistics, Speech Therapy, Machine Translation, Artificial Intelligence, Education (future language teachers will benefit from a good knowledge of how languages work and how they are acquired), publishing, or the language industries.
No specific high school course is required to pursue a concentration in Linguistics
Go to Choose Your First Year Courses for more information.