Welcome Undergraduates!

Every year first and second year students are faced with the challenge of deciding in which direction to pursue their studies in French. The following are brief descriptions of what Literature and Linguistics are and what they can do for you in the future.

Literature

Literature is not just imaginative fiction; it is a rich fund of knowledge about the real world. Through literature we learn about the historical, social, intellectual and moral forces which have shaped humanity. Literature is also a powerful agent in the world: it proposes criticism, solutions and alternatives to reality and to our place in it.  It changes each reader who encounters diverse, sometimes troubling worlds.

As with all forms of art; literature provides both enjoyment and beauty, but also difficult challenges.  Like all art, literature is also a technique to be understood through the study of style and theories about how words and texts can be viewed as systems that constitute cultural identity, be it social, intellectual or linguistic.

Knowledge of literature is an invaluable social skill which contributes to one’s ability to understand and influence people; to speak and express oneself in a coherent and effective way; to adapt one’s written and oral expression to different people and different contexts, with respect and understanding.

What can literature do for me?

Understanding literature involves a highly specialized form of reading which not only develops knowledge of people and cultures outside of our own personal experience, but also the skills and techniques of problem-solving, inferential and conceptual thinking, critical analysis, synthesis and logic. Good readers are not only great writers but excellent thinkers as well. The research and communication skills that are required of the student of literature translate naturally into both personal and professional life. 

Beyond the obvious career paths in Education, professions involving literature and the arts include:

  • Careers in Media; Broadcasting, Journalism, Publishing, Editing, Copywriting
  • Library and Information Sciences, Research, Law
  • Fundraising, Public Relations, Politics, Diplomacy

Linguistics

Linguistics, the scientific study of the language, enhances your academic program with critical and analytical skills while contributing to your better understanding of human language (French, English and others), not simply from a grammatical or spoken perspective but also from a scientific approach. 
Phonetics and phonology (the study of the distinctive sounds of French) provide an understanding of the mechanics of tone, accentuation and articulation that can enhance your own pronunciation of French and other languages.  The study of syntax (word order and sentence structure) will help you understand both what French has in common with other languages and what makes it unique.  The study of morphology (the forms and functions of words) and semantics (word and sentence meanings) will complement your understanding of French and how it is related and yet different from other languages.

What can linguistics do for me?

All the career paths below can be expanded to include global possibilities by combining linguistics with the study of a language such as French.  In addition, a program in French and Linguistics will provide you with background knowledge and transferable skills for a variety of careers, both those which interest you now and others you may turn to in the future.

Linguistics has many applications in a wide range of fields such as:

  • Careers in the Health Professions: Speech Pathology, Speech Therapy, Audiology
  • Teaching Language or Second Language Acquisition
  • Careers in Media: Publishing, Advertising, Journalism, Translation, Copywriting, Technical Writing
  • Artificial Intelligence: Language, Voice, Speech, Text Recognition, Synthesis Programming

Welcome to the Department of French Studies Website!