Applied linguistics isn’t an easy field to define. Some applied linguists see it mainly as a teaching profession dealing with the teaching of language to non-native speakers. Others see applied linguistics in a more holistic manner and view the field as the intersection of linguistics within any field, such as writing, teaching and research. Many linguists battle the definition out valiantly and fiercely, warring over the meaning in the same manner you’d see in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy between the Orcs and the Elves. No matter what your definition is, the careers for an applied linguist are widely varying.
Many women interested in applied linguistics focus on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This path is loads of fun, centering on the theory of second-language acquisition and ways to effectively teach it. Love games? You can learn and create a ton of them in this program that will actually help your students learn. Like singing? In addition, you will learn solid methods and theories that will help you be an amazing teacher. Like to travel? This is a great career for that; many countries, such as China and Japan, hire TESOL teachers with advanced certification and training. Some even pay for travel, room and board. Not too shabby, huh?
Applied linguists are often in the field because they just cannot get enough of the awesomeness that is the use of linguistics in the real world. If you are most interested in showing and teaching others about how linguistics works in a classroom setting and can make a positive difference, consider being a Linguistic Educational Specialist. These women go into school districts and classrooms and look at the impact linguistics has on teaching, learning, tests, textbooks and a multitude of other things.
Applied linguists are keenly interested in how language works in the world; what better way to show that than by writing with a thoughtful linguistic twist? Many applied linguistics spend time as marketing or technical writers, translating complex corporate or scientific information into natural language that everyday consumers and readers can easily understand. You know those complicated, nonsensical directions that came with your bookcase? An applied linguist would have done a much better job on those.
Some applied linguists love their field so much that they never, ever want to leave. The good news is they don’t have to. Researching in the field lets you linger in that wonderful land of language and learning as long as you want. This usually involves getting an advanced degree and, sometimes, teaching at the college level so you share the results of your work.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Arin Bodden started writing professionally in 2003. Her writing has been featured in "Northwest Boulevard" and "Mermaids." She received the Huston Medal in English in 2005. Bodden has a Master of Arts in English from Eastern Washington University. She currently teaches English composition and technical writing at the university level.