Whether you are interested in language or not, linguistics is a great way to better understand communication and the way we interact with each other. Taking a linguistics course at UCSC will introduce you to some awesome people who love learning. Intro to Linguistics (LING 50-01) is an excellent way to dip your toes in the water and still learn things that you’ll use for the rest of your life.

1. It fulfills a GE


Intro to Linguistics will fulfill your SI GE, so if you are not a scientifically inclined individual, you could consider taking this class instead of a lab science. As a GE, you have the option of taking this class pass/fail, just in case you’re nervous about your GPA. But you probably wouldn’t need to! There are plenty of study groups and resources that you could take advantage of. If you take this class, you could take Semantics next quarter which would satisfy your MR requirement, bypassing the necessity of a math class. This will contribute to your education as well as bring a new perspective to the way you view language.

2. You’ll meet some talented people


Because this is an intro class, you’ll find students will all kinds of majors and interests trying this course out. You’ll also encounter a widely diverse and multilingual community within the class. It’s interesting to see the way that so many languages can relate to each other, and how many friends you can make that share languages. Make sure to talk to your TAs when you have questions, they are experts on what they do!

3. It relates to other subjects


Most linguistic principles help you develop transferable skills that you can use for many aspects in life. Obviously it can help you learn languages and patterns, but it also gives insight into social and cultural aspects of language. By learning about differences in language formation and tone, you can understand human and animal communication. Language acquisition and development integrates psychology and sheds light on the way children communicate with their cultures. It even overlaps with some STEM! Sound production utilizes physiological principles and analyzing sound waves while semantics can relate to coding. Keep your notes, because you never know when you’ll be able to use them again.

4. There is excellent representation


One of the best things about linguistics is that it embraces other language systems. This course will demonstrate languages, big and small, from all over the world with respectful and diverse representation. There are plenty of students that take the class with English as a second language, or speech disabilities that find resources to accommodate them. In this class you will learn about descriptivist theory, which maintains that all languages are equally valid and illustrate dialectical and regional differences. This course is incredibly open-minded and teaches tolerance to language evolution.


Don’t let the scary name intimidate you, this class is both entry-level and rewarding. Making study groups and showing up to discussion will get you through this class. By the time you’re done with this course, you’ll be an amateur linguist already!

Danielle Hsu

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