Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savour their songs.
Language is at the core of human creativity, an insight reflected in Mandela’s words. This is why Linguistics has a place in the Humanities, even though contemporary approaches to the study of Linguistics share much with the social and natural sciences. Using language for communication is something that human beings do as naturally as breathing. Most people take their ability to use language so for granted that they rarely stop to reflect on how complex the use of language is. Linguistics is a discipline that strives to uncover and unpack that complexity. Linguistics is the scientific study of the nature of language and communication. It encompasses the study of particular languages, the search for properties common to all languages or large groups of languages, how language is acquired and how it has shaped humankind and human society.
Studying Linguistics opens your eyes to the ways in which language permeates our experience of the social world. Linguistics intersects with many other academic disciplines and thus fits well in any Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum. It can serve as a main focus of study, or as a complement to the study of other fields.
Linguistics offers useful insights for everyday life, with practical applications for individual interaction as well as a wide range of contemporary issues. It also offers insights for theory in research fields ranging from Anthropology to Artificial Intelligence and everything in between.
Studying Linguistics helps you develop skills in scientific reasoning. It gives you practice in making observations and forming and testing hypotheses. It trains you in using and developing models and theories, and critically evaluating these.
Linguistics is a growing field with an increasing impact on other fields in the Humanities, and the Social and Natural Sciences.
For more about the study of Linguistics and where it leads, see this document published by the Linguistic Society of America.