bear and maths

“I am really bad at math. I am also a really bad procrastinator, and above all, I am terribly forgetful. Because of all this, at the end of seventh grade, everyone who didn’t have overdue assignments were able to watch Brother Bear in the cafeteria while the slackers finished their work. I haven’t seen Brother Bear because of that and I feel so awful because everyone on Tumblr finds it to be such a beautiful movie.”

the-axiom-of-choice  asked:

Hi, David! One of my best friends at UC Berkeley is considering getting a degree in Linguistics. He's taken some classes and he lights up when he talks to me about it. He's a big fan of your work, so I gave him your latest book for Christmas. I was just wondering; for an aspiring linguist like him, do you have any advice/resources/words of encouragement? Thanks!

Duuuuuuuude! If you’re interested in linguistics you shouldn’t need any convincing, so there must be something else at work here. Is he already majoring in something else? If so, he shouldn’t worry. I was majoring in English when I found Linguistics, and I finished both just fine. Is he already double majoring in two something elses? If so, tell him to keep taking ling. classes, but focus on ones that would count towards the major, and see what happens! People can triple major! If not, there’s always a minor.

Now, if there’s a concern about jobs you might get afterwards, here’s the thing. The BA ain’t what it used to be. A BA in Economics is honestly no more impressive to some company than a BA in Linguistics. They’re both the very minimum requirement they’ll expect, and they’ll probably want other stuff, too (e.g. industry experience, specific workplace skills that aren’t taught in any college major, etc.). For a bachelor’s degree, I say do not worry about what it is. You can even go to linguistics graduate school without a BA in Linguistics. Same applies for other degrees. Oh, and not one, but TWO of my best friends at Cal who were also double-majoring in English and Linguistics went to law school right out of college! There were three of us in the entire school, and two-thirds went to law school! That’s nuts!

Anyway, one specific bit of advice I would give since he is at Berkeley is to take advantage of the plethora of language offerings there. Especially if ling. is going to be his only major, there are soooooooooooo many freaking language courses there! Take them all! It will be a huge help! Berkeley’s Japanese program is renown; Berkeley’s Chinese program is renown; I can speak highly of both the Russian and Arabic programs. But there are tons of others: Finnish, Turkish, Bulgarian, Bengali, Tagalog, Hugarian, Khmer… If you can convince Sam Mchombo, he can do a kind of focused self-study on any Sub-Saharan African language (he’s a fluent speaker of Chichewa, among other languages). If you can get in good with Andrew Garrett, he may let you help him out with his extended study of and work with Yawelmani Yokuts. Always lots of cool stuff happening in the department. It pays to get to know a professor or two and see what they’re up to. And despite the fact that it is a fairly large department, it has a small department feel. It’s really a great place to be, whether as an undergrad. or graduate student.

Even if one decides not to continue on within the field of linguistics or go into a language-related field after college, wherever you land, you’ll be the language-expert. You’ll be the one your coworkers and employers go to any time there’s a language-related issue. Seeing as every job relies on language, this means you’ll have a unique skillset others won’t. It’s inherently valuable.

The world needs more linguists, of course, but more than anything else, the world needs more people with a basic understanding of the foundational principles of linguistics. I think the equivalent of ling. 5 at Cal should be required for all majors. Every human institution is founded on language. It’s vital! Those with a natural inclination towards the study of language should follow it wherever it leads them. So to him, go, I say! Fiat lux, and fiat lingua! And GO BEARS! ~:D

Originally posted by toocooltobehipster