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At the crossroads of every discipline

Decode the puzzle of language.

Do you love how words sound, where they come from? Do you like finding patterns, making sense of things that seem random? Are you fascinated with human behavior interaction, including your own? Then, you’re a born linguist.

Linguistics isn’t just about learning languages, it’s about the way language works. How we use it to create social order, enact identities, build community, or undermine it. Students often describe their first linguistics course at Macalester as mind-blowing: a door opened to a world you’ve never seen, that you can never not-see again. Your new knowledge and skills will prove invaluable, whether you pursue computational linguistics or speech pathology, or any career that benefits from an understanding of human behavior. (So, basically, every career.)

Why Macalester? Just listen.

In a metropolitan area where thousands of languages and dialects are spoken and sung and danced to—even a city bus is a classroom. In the Macalester linguistics lab, you’ll have access to state-of-the-art tools for recording and analysis; your final project can even be a student broadcast. And here, the study-away options are nearly endless. Whether you want to know more about Arabic, Khmer, Spanish, Māori, and/or the ancestral language of your own family, you’ll have the opportunity.

Life after Macalester

  • Recent Employers

      • Epic

      • University of Wisconsin-Madison

      • Alliance Laundry Systems LLC

      • American Airlines, Inc.

      • Capital One

      • Chapman Homes

      • City of Lakes Americorp

      • Congregation Rodeph Sholom

      • EPIK (English Program in Korea)

      • equilo

      • Fair State Brewing Cooperative

      • Fulbright Association

      • Google

      • Hack Reactor, LLC

      • INGCO International

      • Instituto de Vivienda de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

      • Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

      • Jimmy Carter Library & Museum

      • Living Proof

      • Marlow & Daughters

      • Minnesota Promise Fellows

      • National MS Society

      • Naturschutzstation Rhinluch

      • Peace Corps Comoros

      • Pennsylvania State University

      • Shukugawa Christian Center

      • Tallgrass Prairie Center

      • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

      • University of St. Thomas

      • University of Tennessee, Knoxville

      • Vendor Linguist

  • Recent Graduate Schools

      • University of Edinburgh

      • Concordia Seminary

      • Harvard University

      • St. Catherine University

      • University of Iowa

      • University of London

      • University of Minnesota/Twin Cities

      • University of St. Thomas

      • University of Wisconsin/Madison

      • Yale University

Linguistics in the cities


Number of languages spoken in Twin Cities—great side benefit to studying languages

Research projects by students have included studying Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Khmer, Ga, Twi, Dakota, Welsh, all here in St. Paul


Number of internship sites within 8 miles of campus, including a partnership with the Karen Organization of America

Join our community

  • Fall open house—Kick off the year by meeting people who share your interests.
  • Weekly department tea—Enjoy snacks, crafts, board games and hot tea with a group of cool classmates and instructors. (No, you don’t have to knit.)
  • Lunch with linguists—We showcase a student’s research over the noon hour. The public is invited.
  • Linguistics lounge—Our lab space doubles as lounge space where we can perfect the art of hanging out.
  • Alumni panel—Hear about the fascinating life experiences (and careers) former Macalester linguists are enjoying.
  • Movie night—See music and movies that center around endangered languages and those in the process of being revitalized.

Department News


Shelf Conscious: Professor Christina Esposito


Comparing Japanese-to-English Translations of Sailor Moon Over Time