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Study Linguistics at Otago

Think language, think Linguistics.

Are you interested in how language works?

Do you wonder how languages originated and whether animal communication is different from human language? Have you thought about why and how languages change? Have you thought about what all languages have in common? What does a person’s language have to do with where they live, their age, their gender, their occupations, their cultures, their social groups, and the historical times in which they live? Have you wondered how and why people learn other languages? Are you interested in how one goes about teaching another language? You will find the answers to all of these questions – and more – when you study Linguistics.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study Linguistics?

Linguistics does not prescribe grammatical correctness. Instead it describes how people actually communicate and how this changes from one context, situation, culture, geographical domain or even one moment to another.

When you study Linguistics, you will find the answers to a range of questions - How many languages are there in the world? Why and how do languages change, become endangered or die out? Why do some sentences have more than one meaning? How do new words get into a language? Why do different people speak differently, why do they sound different and why do they use different forms of language? How do children acquire language and why do they start to speak? What does it really mean to be bilingual or bi-cultural?

Career opportunities

There are many career options for Linguistics graduates.

The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), minor equips you to teach English abroad and at home in language schools and other non-state institutions.

Previous graduates are now lawyers, editors, copy-writers, technical writers, journalists, award-winning film directors and producers, translators, interpreters, sign language interpreters, language policy makers, diplomats.

You will find Linguistic graduates as first language teachers, second language teachers, primary school teachers, high school teachers, speech therapists, university lecturers, polytechnic lecturers.

Linguistics graduates have gone on to be newspaper reporters, editors, television producers, television reporters, software designers, actors, comedians, education policy makers, machine voice synthesisers, entrepreneurs, publishers, creative writers, science writers, marketers.

Background required

Linguistics does not assume any prior knowledge of grammar or of foreign languages. All you need is a curiosity about the nature of language and how languages work.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Linguistics

Level Papers Points
100-level

LING 111  Language and its Structure

One of GLBL 101  Introduction to Intercultural Communication  or  any 100-level paper in Chinese, English (excluding ENGL 126), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, linguistics, Māori Language (MAOR 110, MAOR 111, MAOR 112), Sanskrit or Spanish

18

18

200-level

LING 217  What's Behind Language: Sound and Structure

At least two further 200-level LING papers, one of which may be substituted with DHUM 201 Digital Humanities: Method and Critique

18

36

300-level Four 300-level LING papers 72
Plus

198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

198
Total   360

Note: Students majoring in Linguistics are not able to take the TESOL minor subject.

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Linguistics

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Linguistics

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Linguistics is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Linguistics

Papers

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Linguistics

Thesis
  • Thesis: LING 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Linguistics or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Linguistics must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Linguistics prior to undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Linguistics as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

LING 111  Language and Its Structure

One of GLBL 101  Introduction to Intercultural Communication  or  any 100-level paper in Chinese, English (excluding ENGL 126), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, linguistics, Māori Language (MAOR 110, MAOR 111, MAOR 112), Sanskrit or Spanish

18

18

200-level

LING 217  What's Behind Language: Sound and Structure

One further 200-level LING paper (excluding LING 231  TESOL: Guide to Language Teaching)

18

18

300-level

Any 300-level LING paper

18
Total   90

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
LING103 2021 Language Myths 18 points Summer School
LING111 2021 A World of Languages 18 points First Semester
LING140 2021 Language, Brain, and Being Human 18 points Second Semester
LING217 2021 What's Behind Language: Sound and Structure 18 points First Semester
LING230 2021 Interaction and Identity in Context 18 points Second Semester
LING231 2021 TESOL: Guide to Language Teaching 18 points First Semester
LING314 2021 Morphosyntax: Diversity and Unity 18 points Second Semester
LING317 2021 Child and Adult Language Development 18 points First Semester
LING330 2021 Interaction and Identity in Context 18 points Second Semester
LING331 2021 Advanced TESOL: Branching Out 18 points First Semester
LING332 2021 TESOL in Action: Teaching Practice 18 points Second Semester
LING342 2021 Laboratory Phonology 18 points Second Semester
LING390 2021 Research Essay 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
LING415 2021 Psycholinguistics 20 points First Semester
LING421 2021 Special Topic: Computer Assisted Language Learning 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
LING422 2021 Special Topic 3 20 points Not offered in 2021
LING424 2021 Linguistic Fieldwork 20 points Second Semester
LING432 2021 TESOL in Action: Teaching Practice 20 points Second Semester
LING433 2021 Sociocultural Language Topics 20 points First Semester
LING490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
LING590 2021 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

School of Arts
English and Linguistics Programme
Email english@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/linguistics