OFO No: 264303





What is a Linguist?

A Linguist studies a language or languages. These can be modern or ancient languages. These studies can be both theoretical as well as practical.

Examples of theoretical studies:

  • Grammar – (the structure of a language)
  • Syntax – (arrangement of words & phrases)
  • Semantics – (meaning of words & phrases)
  • Origin – (history of a word or phrase)
  • Phonetics – (the sound of a language)

Examples of practical studies are found in careers such as:

  • Translator
  • Speech Therapist
  • Language Teacher
  • Interpreter etc

A person who can speak a lot of different languages may also be called a Linguist.

What does a Linguist do?

  • studies languages – (grammar, syntax, spelling, etc)
  • researches history of words and phrases
  • studies the sounds of languages
  • researches and monitors the changes languages over time
  • keeps up to date with new words

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in languages?
  • a good communicator?
  • a good speller?
  • interested in research?
  • detail orientated?
  • organised?

How do I become a Linguist?

You will need a strong passion for languages.

A Bachelor’s Arts (BA) degree in Linguistics can be done at most of SA universities including UNISA (distance learning). Look under the faculty Humanities.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 




OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Copywriter, Crime Reporter and Scriptwriter

Is becoming a Linguist the right career choice for me?