Purpose: This pilot study explored the linguistic attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs of undergraduate majors in speech-language pathology (SLP) and the role an interest in linguistics played in their choice of the SLP major.

Method: Fifteen undergraduate students declared as SLP majors participated in this mixed-methods study. Participants responded to a survey and open-ended questions measuring their knowledge about and interest in linguistics; they also wrote a narrative essay describing their decision to major in SLP. Data was collected via Qualtrics. Descriptive statistics were done on the quantitative data, and thematic coding using NVivo 12.1.0 was done on qualitative data.

Results: Most participants were interested in linguistics and expressed a belief that knowledge of linguistics would be important in their work as SLPs. In generally, however, they demonstrated limited linguistic knowledge and did not include an interest in linguistics as a major influence in their choice to major in SLP. Furthermore, attitudes toward non-standard English were implicit in responses. Participants’ responses indicated that personal interests, quality of life concerns, and the constraints of other career choices - possibly along with societal norms and expectations related to gender/race and career path - intersected as factors that led to the career choice of SLP.

Conclusions: Results are of importance to those involved in the design and implementation of undergraduate programs in speech-language pathology, as well as those wishing to recruit students, including minority and male students, to the field of SLP. Additional research should be done with participants from other academic institutions, as well with male students and students of color, to produce more generalizable results.



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