yep. the study of languages -- how they work and why. it breaks down into a few big categories -- phonology (sounds), morphology (word structure), syntax (sentence structure), and semantics (word meaning). etymology is the study of the origins of words. i'm a phonologist at heart.
so how many languages do you speak?
lots. i'm hella good at english. i am fluent in five to six dialects of german. i give dutch a good go, and i can get by in spanish and french. i know plenty of latin, although the grammar eludes me and can garble my translations. i also know the nouns and some of the verbs of A(merican)S(ign)L(anguage). the structure is what i haven't yet learned. i also speak canadian as if it were my mother tongue.
so what are you gonna do with that?
a whole lotta nothing, unless i decide to get a masters, get an assistant professorship, get a phd, and get a job as a college/university professor -- in that order. i used to believe linguistics was my calling ... but now i get confused about it. i'd love to follow the path described above, but i still may choose something else.
don't you get bored?
never. i love linguistics with every ounce of me. i can entertain myself for hours on end, linguisticizing in my head. sociolinguistics is for me, and i know i could be happy spending the rest of my life figuring out why people say things a certain way and some other people say them another certain way. as a sociolinguist, i want to know where your mother was from and what your life ambitions are. maybe it'll help me understand why my kindly neighbor lady can never get to the point of a story or why you pronounce water that way.