The Department of Linguistics is on the cutting edge of a field that seeks explanations for language as a fundamental human activity, by way of studying how languages are used by their speakers. We are considered an international leader in developing ideas and methods that are moving the field of linguistics into a new era.

Our faculty is known for its focus on linguistic diversity and its active fieldwork with speakers of a variety of languages, particularly those of the Americas, East Asia, the Himalayas, the Caucasus, and Austronesia. There is also a special interest in varieties of English.

We offer undergraduate students small classes, personal attention, and opportunities for interdisciplinary studies, such as psycholinguistics, linguistic anthropology, endangered languages, and the history of specific languages. An area of special emphasis within the undergraduate linguistics program is sociocultural linguistics, or how language creates cultural meanings and practices and how it is used to display speakers’ membership in various social categories.