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Rhodes > English Language and Linguistics > Linguistics and your career

Linguistics and your career

Communications/Public Relations/Management

  • a command of the norms of verbal and written communication
  • understanding of how people are influenced by language
  • a thorough grounding in the reasons underlying cross-cultural misunderstandings

Jennifer Smit: Communications officer Since graduating from Rhodes I have joined an international company where my job is essentially communication. Public relations, marketing, writing, public speaking. Linguistics has given me a better understanding of the finer nuances of language that has proved extremely useful in a job of this nature.

Journalism & Advertising

  • understanding of the effects of linguistic structures on readers
  • insight into techniques of writing
  • experience in textual analysis
  • a command of the norms of verbal and written communication
  • awareness of linguistic techniques used to manipulate readers
  • training in the effects of connotations of words and visual imagery

Lorna Hiles (Freelance journalist and Media Monitor for the Nelson Mandela Foundation): I have found that Linguistics and Journalism makes a powerful combination in the job market.

Computational linguistics

  • familiarity with phonetics, syntax and morphology
  • ability to implement formal models of language

Candice Caldwell (currently completing a Ph.D. at Cambridge University) I believe anyone with a background in Linguistics has an enormous amount to contribute in many different fields; my time in the UK has only reinforced this belief...There is a head-hunter in the US dedicated only to finding linguists - people good at syntax are particularly valued in high-tech industries. Dictionaries are fascinating and a high-tech business now. And linguistics is a pre-requisite for training in this area, particularly for bilingual and learner dictionaries.


  • a clear grasp of the meanings of syntactic structures of English
  • training in ways to demystify and simplify complicated language
  • awareness of issues involved in promoting the use of lain language'
  • a thorough understanding of language policy issues and language planning issues in South Africa and other countries

Literacy and academic development

  • training in recognised methods of teaching language
  • familiarity with concepts in literacy, especially at tertiary level

Carol Hobson-Chadd (Language teacher): Linguistics has given me a distinct advantage in the classroom, especially since English learners often have a far better grasp of grammar than many of their teachers. Linguistics has given me sensible answers to their questions and a greater understanding of the difficulties they have when


  • insight into how people learn a first language
  • awareness of which language is appropriate for text books and teachers
  • familiarity with methods and techniques in multilingual classrooms
  • understanding of the problems of second language teaching
  • familiarity with current debates about language policy in South Africa
  • a training in teaching English to foreigners
  • insight into language problems (e.g. dyslexia) in the classroom

Translation & interpreting

  • sensitivity to semantic nuances and cultural meanings in translation
  • training in the methods and techniques of lexicography
  • understanding of the interpreting needs in lawcourts and hospitals

Sharon Fay (Public relations manager for MassDiscounters, including Dion and Game): Effective communication is critical for business efficiency, and this is where Linguistics has been of immense benefit.


  • mastery of standard usage in written English
  • concern for linguistic detail
  • understanding of the effect of alternative structures or lexical choices

Speech Therapy/Psychology

  • understanding of the link between language and mind, and how humans learn language
  • ability to identify language pathologies (e.g dyslexia; stuttering; aphasia)
  • knowledge about treatment for selected pathologies

Last Modified :Wed, 24 May 2017 09:36:40 SAST