The mission of the linguistics department is to advance our understanding of human language, through in-depth study of the structures of a wide variety of languages, from speech sounds through to sentences and their meaning. We combine linguistic analysis with documentary fieldwork, psychological experimentation, and computational modeling to study not only how languages are structured, but also how humans process language in real time, and how languages are learned. It is fundamental to our discipline that all languages, and all varieties of those languages, are equally highly structured products of human cognition, and are all equally worthy of detailed study. Our research mission is completely integrated with our educational mission. Our PhD program involves our students from the outset in a highly collaborative research and advising environment. The students come from a diverse set of backgrounds and pursue research projects on a wide variety of languages using a range of methods. In our undergraduate program, we seek to instill an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of human language, and also develop the ability to study linguistic structure, in independent and collaborative projects.


The linguistics department has a rich tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration, and we seek to build on that in extending our educational and research scope. We see linguistics as providing a bridge between the humanities and STEM, particularly with broader cognitive science in departments including Psychological and Brain Sciences and Communication Disorders, and through computational linguistics with the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, which is also a partner in cognitive science. We also seek to extend our research, educational, and outreach capacity in the study of underrepresented varieties of languages. This initiative stands not only to broaden our understanding of the diversity of the human capacity for language but also to combat language discrimination.


We share the university’s values of excellence, diversity, equity and inclusiveness, openness, integrity and stewardship, innovation, and impact. We value our position as a world-leading department in a public institution and believe in making high-quality educational and research experiences accessible to all. We feel that as language scientists we have both the ability and the special responsibility, to work against linguistic discrimination.