New Linguistics Major Offers Opportunities in Language Study

by Jenni Hodges, Public Relations Writer

Linguistics is the newest undergraduate degree program at Cedarville University. The major was approved in August by the Ohio Board of Regents.

Barbara Loach, professor of foreign language, said the program was proposed last year, and students showed strong interest through a campus survey. Cedarville already offered two linguistics courses and a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsement, so several upperclassmen were able to transfer into the new major.

Junior Taylor Phillips of Xenia, Ohio, said she was immediately interested when she heard about the program. Phillips was taking a linguistics course for her TESOL minor and said it fascinated her. When Phillips graduates from Cedarville, she hopes to teach English in Korea or Japan and eventually complete a graduate degree in translation.

Annis Shaver, associate professor of German, said linguistics offers many opportunities to students who love languages. These could include teaching, interpreting, computer language processing, speech therapy, law, business and many areas of research. “It’s amazing to think about,” Shaver said, “but all of these fields are related to linguistics.” The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that several fields related to linguistics, especially translating and interpreting, will experience significant growth in the next decade.

Claire Anderson, a sophomore from Peshtigo, Wis., was also interested when she heard about the University’s plans to offer the new major last spring. “Linguistics was not even on my radar at all,” Anderson said. “I had no clue what it was.” After exploring the possibilities of linguistics, Anderson planned to declare the major, and it was approved right after her return to campus this year.

Loach said Cedarville’s unique program offers students many possibilities because it combines theoretical exploration of language with practical application. The major includes core linguistics courses, two years of modern language study and a concentration in a vocational field such as computer science, information technology, cultural studies, education or writing. The core courses will be taught by faculty from the department of English, literature and modern languages who have extensive education and experience in linguistics and related fields.

Anderson said she hopes to study abroad and complete a TESOL or education and psychology concentration. “TESOL appeals to me a lot,” she said, “especially as a practical way to build international relationships and use that as a mission field.”  

Anderson said Shaver’s Linguistics for Language Learning course is a highlight of her experience so far. She said Shaver has an infectious enthusiasm for language and intentionally integrates a Christian worldview with course material. “It’s so refreshing,” Anderson said. “You don’t get that anywhere else.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at