Linguistics Minor (12 Credits)


The field of linguistics provides a view of language that students are often not exposed to during their K-12 education. Linguists are interested in the systematic study of language with particular interest in how people use language to establish their identities and situate themselves in the world. Being exposed to this view of language opens up new modes of thinking for students. In particular, by taking courses in linguistics, students gain an understanding of not only the basic prescriptive rules for correctness that are expected in certain written and spoken genres but also the patterns and features that comprise actual, real-world linguistic usage in a number of different speech communities—patterns that sometimes violate the prescriptive rules. Such an approach cultivates students’ ability to use prescriptively correct language in their speech and writing, which benefits them in future situations in which such correctness is required. Moreover, and perhaps even more importantly, students also gain an increased awareness of the systematic ways in which individual speakers and particular speech communities deviate from the prescriptive norms, using language to foster cultural and social connections and to establish their identities. Such awareness provides students with a new lens through which to view variation and diversity, which can contribute to greater tolerance and acceptance for linguistic—and thus human—difference. Furthermore, with an understanding of linguistic variation as rooted in the principles of multilingualism and intercultural contexts, students can develop specific skills in cross-cultural communication and linguistic accommodation, which will benefit them in future interactions with culturally and linguistically diverse speakers in their jobs and in their everyday lives—situations which are very likely to arise for our students in this increasingly globalized world in which transnational companies and multicultural communities are the norm.

Required Courses

ENGL 3301 A Linguistic Study of Modern English (3 credits)

ENGL 3302 History and Structure of the English Language (3 credits)

ENGL 3303 The Grammatical Structure of English (3 credits)

ENGL 3304 Language in Society (3 credits)


Contact: Dr. Sarah Hercula (