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The TESOL Minor does not provide a state license or certificate. Please refer to the English as a New Language Add-On License program.

Ball State’s minor in linguistics and global communication introduces you to the scientific study of human language, its structure, its diversity, and its communicative properties.

By analyzing linguistic structure and identifying patterns of language use from around the world, you develop an understanding of how languages change, how they are used by communities, and how they are acquired.

Linguistics offers an understanding of how languages are structured and how languages are used in communicative and interactional contexts.

What You Will Learn

Learning outcomes include:

  • understanding languages as an organized, interrelated system with multiple subsystems
  • applying linguistic methodologies to analyze language (English and other languages)
  • recognizing and interpreting differences across speech communities in language use

Why Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. In this field, your main focus will be to understand how languages work, and how they are acquired by both native speakers and second language learners. Like in other scientific fields, you will collect and examine data, identify patterns, and create and test different hypotheses. In doing so, you will develop crucial analytical and technical skills, which are directly or indirectly relevant to a wide range of career paths. Here are some examples.

For more information, visit the Linguistics Society of America website.

Text mining (text analytics): Analyzing text can be extremely valuable to companies, but how do you make sense of thousands of lines of text...? One useful tool is called sentiment analysis, which seeks to identify patterns in text data. Companies often employ this type of analysis to investigate whether customers have positive or negative opinions about their products (this can be done by examining the words that customers use when writing about such products in reviews or blog posts online). This type of analysis provides unique insights into how people feel about services and products, which in turn inform companies' marketing strategies, for example.

Linguistics allows you to have a comprehensive understanding of sentence structure, meaning, words, and their sounds. This knowledge is crucial if you plan to teach any language to children or adults, in the US or abroad. Needless to say, language teaching plays a crucial role in a world where people migrate to different countries and cultures (as immigrants or refugees). Linguistics can also help you better appreciate the building blocks that underlie all languages, which in turn allows you to better understand the challenges that people face when learning a new language—and to predict such challenges on the basis of people’s mother tongues.

More and more tech companies rely on linguistic data. When you start typing certain words on your smartphone, specific words are suggested based on your typical typing patterns: your phone "knows" what you normally type, and it can help you complete your own sentences by predicting the next word(s)—saving you a lot of time in the long run. At the same time, you can talk to your phone and get an answer back almost instantly. Combined with computer science and data analysis, linguistics can equip you to explore domains such as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer-assisted language learning, and many other areas.

Positions involving editing, publishing and writing all benefit from a background in linguistics.

Within the field of linguistics, phonetics deals with how speech sounds are produced and perceived by humans. Among other things, you will understand what makes different accents sound so different sometimes---which is certainly an important skill in acting.

Minor Requirements

Total credits: 15

The Linguistics and Global Communication minor has two focus areas. The Linguistics focus area is centered more on theoretical aspects, and the Global Communication focus area is centered more on application of linguistics to communication across linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

The core courses are:

  • ENG 219 Introduction to Linguistic Science
  • ENG 220 Language and Society

For a complete list of all classes you may take in each focus area and their descriptions, please see the Course Catalog.
View Catalog

How to Enroll

Students interested in the minor in linguistics and global communication should complete a "change of major or minor" form. This form is available in the Academic Advising Center (AC 224).

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