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Linguistics Major Guide for 2011-2012

What is Linguistics

Language is the medium by which every fact, opinion, or belief is conveyed. Each language is a unique system for communicating such information.

Linguistics is the systematic study of language systems and how they work. It presupposes both an interest in language generally and a solid command of other languages, especially those greatly different from one’s own.

The Program in Linguistics at The University of Tennessee is an Interdisci­plinary Program (IDP) in the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty are located in the Departments of Anthropology, Audiology and Speech Pathology, English, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Psychology, Speech Communication, and Theatre, and in the College of Education.

The Linguistics concentration offers a broad exposure to the various areas of linguistics (including historical, descriptive, and theoretical linguistics) along with an opportunity to study fields where linguistics overlaps with other disciplines such as psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, speech pathology, and the like. It is designed to prepare a student for graduate work in linguistics or related areas, or to serve as an enrichment to the study of a particular language. It provides the additional possibility of emphasizing the teaching of English as a second language for the student interested in employment at the B.A. level.

Career Opportunities in Linguistics

Graduates of our program are well prepared to pursue advanced study in linguistics. Graduates of our program have entered a variety of language-related and applied professional fields (translation, audiology, speech pathology, and language teaching), as well as linguistics itself as an academic discipline.

Salary Trends in Linguistics

Employment opportunities after completing a graduate degree in either Audiology or Speech Pathology are excellent. Upon completion of a B.A. degree, you can be propelled into limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path you follow. As with any degree, your pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc) enhance your chances at obtaining desired employment and further, guide where you fall on the salary continuum.

High School Preparation

No special high school preparation is required, though it is helpful for students to have studied at least one foreign language.

How to Major in Linguistics

Students should consult program advisors early in planning a Linguistics major or minor. Linguistics 200 is highly recommended. Audiology and Speech Pathology 305 should be taken as soon as possible. Other 300-level courses should, if possible, be completed before 400-level courses are begun. See the Program Chair for additional information.

Requirements for Linguistics


Completion of a third year of IndoEuropean foreign language study; A two-semester sequence of a non-Indo-European language to be selected from the following:

  • Asian Languages 131-132 (Chinese)
  • Asian Languages 151-152 (Japanese)
  • Asian Studies 121-122 (Modern Arabic)
  • Asian Studies 141-142 (Modern Hebrew)
  • Educational Interpreting 223, 226 (American Sign Language)
  • Religious Studies 309-10 (Classical Hebrew) or other non-Indo-European languages offered in a two-course sequence and approved by the Linguistics Committee.

30 hours distributed as follows:
21 hours composed of: Audiology & Speech Pathology 305; English 371, 372, 471; Linguistics 423, 425, 426;
9 hours of the following, selected in consultation with a Linguistics Advisor:
Anthropology 411; Audiology & Speech Pathology 302,320; Communication Studies 412; Foreign Language/ESL Education 455; French 421, 422; Linguistics 321, 400, 429, 431, 435, 436, 472, 474, 476, 477, 485, 490, 491, 492, 493; Psychology 400; Spanish 421, 422; Theatre 326.

A minor in linguistics shall consist of 18 credit hours composed of:
Twelve hours in Audiology & Speech Pathology 305; English 371 or 372; Linguistics 423 and 425 or 426.  And six hours selected in consultation with a Linguistics advisor from Anthropology 411; Audiology & Speech Pathology 302, 320; Communication Studies 412; English 471; Foreign Language/ESL Education 455; French 421, 422; Linguistics 321, 400, 429, 431, 435, 436, 471, 472, 474, 476, 477, 485, 490, 491, 492, 493; Psychology 400; Spanish 421, 422; Theatre 326.

Highlights of Linguistics

Annual Presentations by UT and Visiting Academics.  Recent examples include:
John Baugh, Washington University, “Linguistic Diversity and Discrimination in American Schools and Society”; Stephen D. Krashen, University of Southern California, “Free, Voluntary Reading: It Will Help First Language Acquisition, Second Language Acquisition, Make You Smarter, and Help You Sleep at Night”;  Aleka A. Blackwell, Middle Tennessee State University, “Early Lexical Development: Input, Semantic Transparency, or Cognitive Biases?”; Jeanette Allsopp, University of the West Indies, “An Introduction to Caribbean Languages”; Jeffrey Davis, University of Tennessee, “Native American Sign Language: A Historical and Linguistic Account”; Oleg Tarnopolsky, Dnipropetrovsk University of Economics and Law, “Creative Writing in EFL: Why and How?”; Phil Harrison, Georgia State University, “Voice ID’s, forensic phonetics, and John Lennon.”

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities.
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office web site ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Sample Curriculum

Following this four-year plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years.  Milestone courses have been identified as the minimum courses that must be completed.

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Foreign Language (Intermediate Level) 6
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Social Sciences 3
General Electives 0-1
Milestone courses: English 101, Quantitative Reasoning (3 hrs) and a social science (3 hrs)
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Linguistics 200 3
Audiology & Speech Pathology 305 3
Non-U.S. History Sequence 6
Natural Science 3
Foreign Language (300-level) 6
Arts and Humanities 6
Social Science 3
Milestone courses: English 102, elementary foreign language proficiency, natural science (3-4 hrs) and Linguistics 200
Junior Year Credit Hours
Linguistics 371-372 6
Linguistics 425 3
Non Indo-European Language Sequence 6-10
Linguistics (major) 3
Arts and Humanities 3
Upper Level Distribution 6
General Electives 0-3
Senior Year Credit Hours
Linguistics 426 3
Linguistics 423 3
Linguistics 471 3
Linguistics (major) 6
General Electives 6
Communicating Through Writing 3
Communicating Orally 3
Social Science 3
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Ilona Leki
Department of English
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0430



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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