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Linguistic skills underpin many tasks and careers. After all, language is our primary medium for thought, transmission of knowledge and ideas and communication between people.

Linguistics is especially closely allied with careers in interpreting and translation, cross-cultural communication, language teaching (be that teaching English as a second or foreign language or teaching a language other than English) and academic writing and editing. Linguistics is a very useful research tool for anthropologists or sociologists, neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers (to name just a few).

Careers as linguists per se, may be found in academia as lecturers or researchers, documenting under-described languages or supporting community-based language projects. Numbers of linguistics positions (both short-term and long-term) come up in Aboriginal language centres located throughout Australia or with Aboriginal language projects.

Linguistics intersects closely with computer science in the development of speech recognition software and machine translation. Linguists also play a role within the military and national security (for example in encryption and decryption). Forensic linguistics is also a growing field, where linguists might give evidence in a court of law. Linguists are engaged in screening of peoples to determine their place of origin of refugees based on attributes of their speech.

Linguists are also employment by governments and especially by international bodies such as the European Union. Language planning is a function that is taken seriously by many governments around the world. The possibilities for employment that draws on linguistic skills are many and varied.



Department of Linguistics

Level 7, Napier Building


T: +61 8 8313 4249
School of Humanities