College of Letters & Science

Undergraduate

Van Hise Hall

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. The study of linguistics transcends individual languages and specific aspects of language, offering foundational tools that benefit such diverse areas of research and knowledge as first and second language acquisition, education, philosophy, language pathologies, psychology, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and gender studies, among many others. Linguists engage in the systematic study of human language through documentation and analysis in order to discover what is common to all human languages, what is unique to each language, how language is learned, and how both biology and culture interact to create human language. For more information and some answers to common questions, see the Linguistic Society of America's "What is Linguistics?" page.

Our Program

The undergraduate major in Linguistics is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to work with linguistics faculty from departments across campus, who use a variety of methodologies and approaches in their study of language science.

The core of the program is comprised of rigorous training in the fundamentals of linguistic theory (Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax), broad exposure to the cross-linguistic empirical basis for the discipline, and practical experience in methods of data collection and both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

The major also includes a flexible elective component, allowing students to tailor the major to their own focus of interest. Students build a customized elective program from courses in areas such as language acquisition, language processing, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, endangered languages, communicative disorders, or the linguistics of a particular language or language family.

Our student organization encourages undergraduate as well as graduate participation, and provides opportunities for professional development, out-of-classroom learning, and fun social events for our students.