239 and 241 Stevenson College
(831) 459-4765 (graduate)
(831) 459-4988 (undergraduate)

Programs Offered

Linguistics B.A.

Linguistics Minor

Language Studies B.A.

Language Studies Minor

Contiguous Bachelor's/Master's Pathway

Linguistics M.A.

Linguistics Ph.D.

Other Programs of Interest

Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism B.A.

Cognitive Science B.S.

Computer Science B.S.

Computer Science B.A.

Natural Language Processing M.S.

Linguistics is an exact and structured discipline that examines human language. It has connections to many other fields in the humanities (philosophy, literature), the social sciences (anthropology, psychology, sociology), the natural sciences (biology, neuroscience, acoustics), computer science, computer engineering, and artificial intelligence.

The central areas of linguistics investigate the knowledge that speakers of a language have about its structure. Syntax is concerned with the rules that combine words into larger units of phrases and sentences. Semantics is the study of the meanings of linguistic units and how they are combined to form the meanings of sentences. Phonetics deals with the physical properties of language sounds. Phonology investigates the sound systems of particular languages and across languages. Morphology investigates the ways in which words are formed from prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Pragmatics is the study of language use. Psycholinguistics is concerned with the cognitive mechanisms by which we produce and perceive language.

The faculty in the Linguistics Department have primary research and teaching interests in one or more of these areas. Other perspectives on language study represented include computational and corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, the study of poetic language, and the study of language change.

The programs offered by the Linguistics Department are designed to acquaint students with the central aspects of linguistic structure and the methodologies and perspectives of the field. The department offers two undergraduate majors, linguistics and language studies, and a graduate program in theoretical linguistics. The linguistics major leads to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree in linguistics; the language studies major leads to a B.A. degree in language studies (see Language Studies). The graduate program leads to the master of arts (M.A.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in linguistics.

The department also offers a combined B.A./M.A. pathway, which makes it possible for certain well-qualified, highly motivated students to complete the requirements for both degrees in five years rather than the usual six.

Courses for Non-majors

LING 50, Introduction to Linguistics, an introduction to the major areas, problems, and techniques of modern linguistics. (Gen Ed: SI)

LING 53, Semantics 1, introduction to the logical foundations of natural language semantics. A basic literacy course in the language of logical representation. (Gen Ed: MF)

LING 80C, Language, Society and Culture, the study of language from a sociological perspective. Multilingualism, language change and variation, pidgins and creoles, the origin and diversification of dialects. (Gen Ed: CC)

LING 80D, Language and Mind, a critical overview of the research program initiated by Noam Chomsky and its implications for theories of the human mind and brain. (Gen Ed: PE-H)

LING 80K, Invented Languages, explores invented languages, including Elvish and Klingon, as well as lesser-known ones that tackle ethical, social, or cognitive concerns. (Gen Ed: TA)

LING 80M, Language and Indigeneity in Mesoamerica, explores indigenous experiences in Mesoamerica, focusing on the role of language in the formation of indigenous identities, both historically and in contemporary society. (Gen Ed: ER)

LING 80S, The Science of Language, an introduction to linguistics for non-majors. (Gen Ed: SI)

LING 80V, Structure of the English Vocabulary, explores the historical origin and development of word elements, as well as their sound, meaning, and function in the contemporary language.

LING 100, Sounds of the World's Languages: Phonetics I, provides a comprehensive introduction to the sounds of human language.

LING 131, Spanglish, an investigation of Spanglish as a linguistic and cultural phenomenon. (Gen Ed: ER)

LING 133, Language OnLine (LOL): Communication in the digital era, an investigation of the language of memes and social media. (Gen Ed: PE-T)