Linguistics

The Linguistics Major and Minor, housed in the Department of Romance Studies, allow students to study human language from a variety of perspectives and to consider the relationship between linguistics and other disciplines. The program introduces students to linguistic theory and analysis and allows students to explore, at many levels, how language works.

Students of linguistics examine the structure, use, and development of the languages of the world. We aim to identify both those elements that are common to all human languages (spoken and signed) and the ways in which languages and dialects can differ from one another. We also explore the role that language plays in shaping human identity and in establishing cultural norms of societies throughout the world. Courses in phonetics and phonology reveal the sound patterns of language; morphology studies the composition of words; syntax and semantics focus on how phrases are put together and how ‘meaning’ is computed. Historical linguistics examines the evolution of linguistic systems over time. Courses in Romance Linguistics offer opportunities for language analysis at an advanced level and allow students to delve into the structure and evolution of French and Spanish.

Joint majors are available in: