What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, with core objects of inquiry including the acoustic, auditory and articulatory properties of speech sounds (phonetics); how sounds pattern (phonology), word formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax),  meaning (semantics), and how language functions in society (sociolinguistics). Subfields and applications include language documentation, philosophy of language, historical linguistics, computational linguistics, anthropological linguistics, educational linguistics, cognitive linguistics, neurolinguistics, discourse analysis, first and second language acquisition, and more. (UCA offers or has offered courses in those subfields listed in bold.)

The Linguistics Major

We offer a BA in Linguistics with four possible areas of specialization. All students take a 21-hour core and choose one track from the following: (1) 15 hours in a language (French, German, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish); (2) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); (3) computer science, or (4) general linguistics.

**N.B., Linguistics is not a content area for K-12 teacher licensure, and the TESOL track is not intended to prepare students for a K-12 teaching career in the United States. Our students are interested primarily in teaching English to adults abroad and/or in pursuing graduate work in TESOL, and many go on to one or both of these pursuits.

The Linguistics Minor

We offer a minor in Linguistics emphasizing our core classes: Semantics, Sociolinguistics, Phonology, and Analytical Methods of Morphology and Syntax. The minor is an excellent choice for majors in foreign languages, English, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology,  Computer Science, Writing, and Creative Writing.

The Minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

The minor in TESOL provides students with a basic understanding of theoretical and applied linguistics with the goal of using that knowledge to teach English to speakers of other languages.  This minor does not prepare students to teach K-12 in the public schools since that requires a content area accepted by the state of Arkansas.  Rather, it is intended to provide students with the necessary background to teach adults in settings outside the public schools and to teach English overseas.

Program Information and Forms

Linguistics Society



Linguistics on Facebook


Gena Bennett

Lynn Burley

Ramón Escamilla