A linguist is one of those terms we all hear about often, but probably do not actually fully understand. A linguist is an individual that is skilled in foreign languages and studies linguistics to better understand language. It’s a study that is as open-ended as the languages of the world; some linguists may study the history of a particular language while others may study how language evolves and where our language is headed. Fascinating yet informative, linguists dedicate their lives to helping human beings learn how and why they communicate in the manner that they do, all the while helping the world to understand better ways to communicate.
With such as open-ended definition, it can be difficult to know what actually makes a quality linguist. Luckily, we have the answer. Below are a few of the characteristics that make a linguist good at his/her job.
Attention to Detail
Quality linguists must always have a sharp eye for detail. Being able to identify why certain words sound the same and how to properly pronounce them is one of the most important attributes any linguist should have (especially for linguists that are also educators). Moreover, linguists must also be able to easily identify the origin of certain words, dialects, and so on. In short, no matter which area of linguistics a linguist specializes in, they must have a keen eye for details!
Help students understand Language
Linguists are also beneficial in how they help students understand a language better. Especially for linguists that specialize in teaching children a second language, it is crucial that they know exactly how their target age group learns and comprehends the nature of the language. This will allow the educator to properly teach his/her students how to specialize in a second language; a skill that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Able to communicate Properly
Believe it or not, but some linguists cannot communicate properly! Certainly, a linguist needs to know their subject matter like the back of their hand (and they need to know the ‘why’ to everything related to their field of study), but being able to relay their information quickly, articulately, accurately, and in simple terms (when applicable) is one of the best ways to tell if a linguist is of the highest quality.
Above all, linguists need to have a wealth of patience. It can be difficult to understand every aspect of a language, its history, knowing why it has evolved, etc. – and a linguist that is patient will be able to learn these things without feeling as if they are ‘in over their head.’ Moreover, when teaching a language to students, linguists need to be patient due to the fact that most of their students will have no idea how to comprehend a language from the start. Knowing how to teach students in simple terms and build their way up to an expert level is one of the characteristics a quality linguist can have!