Student studying in Burling Library

Linguistics

Study the building blocks of language and learn how we turn thoughts into words.

If you’ve always loved languages but thought 2, 3, or even 10 weren’t enough, you can have all of them and more through linguistics, the study of language (singular). You’ll learn how to describe and analyze sound patterns and the forms, functions, and meanings of words, on their own and when combined into phrases and sentences. Through these elements, linguists try to explain what in the human mind lets us not only utter what we think but also understand each other’s utterances, in our societies and across generations.

Why study linguistics?

Conducting research in an advanced seminar or independent project will allow you to explore questions still open in the field, bringing together what you’ve learned in related subjects, such as anthropology, computer science, philosophy, and psychology, not to mention the world languages in the curriculum and community. You’ll emerge from the concentration with knowledge of how we can learn a language at all, how central it is to human culture, behavior, and society, and how we use it for creative expression in writing and other modes of communication — a compact liberal arts education in one field that lets you pursue many things, from graduate study to careers in education, computing, and more.

 

Linguistic faculty and graduating students 2019

Linguistic faculty and graduating students 2019
 
Row 1: Temitayou Wolff ’19, Hadley Luker ’19, Lily Bohlke ’19, Professor Chisato Kojima
Row 2: Professor Hansen, Professor Mercado, Professor Herold, Professor Fennel

Department News

Celeste Miller poses lying crosswise on a stool with violinist behind her

How Dance and Language Converge

Assistant Professors Cynthia Hansen and Celeste Miller introduced a 2-credit class last spring to help trailblaze a new theory: choreolinguistics, which explores the intersection of linguistics and dance.

The Linguistic Structure of Japanese Baseball Chants

World-renowned phonologist Armin Mester will present work he has been developing with collaborators that seeks to explain the complex sound patterns in adapting a batter’s…

Mixing It Up in/with Codeswitching

Carol Myers-Scotton ’55, an expert in bilingualism and language contact, to discuss codeswitching, using 2 languages in the same conversation.

Department Information

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