This is a written version of a talk I gave at a workshop in London in May 2003, run by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS). It is intended to be available via the Subject Centre's web site.
I argue that an undergraduate course in linguistics is an exceptionally good source of important life skills, given the right input from both the student and the teacher. I distinguish three kinds of learning experience: application of a given system of categories (e.g. the IPA), understanding of how language works, and self-reflection; and for each of these general categories I comment on the educational benefits and illustrate a range of more specific sub-categories. I also list some specific life-skills that these educational experiences should develop, e.g. respect for evidence, tolerance, self-understanding. I conclude with a few preliminary remarks on how these benefits can be "sold" to students and employers.
Download English version as .pdf or Read online on the LLAS website
Download Chinese version as .pdf (Translated by Hetty Wang, Revised by Liu Haitao)