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Combining humanistic and scientific concerns

What is Linguistics?
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Exploring language's complexity and structure

About Us
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Collaborating across departments and disciplines

Our Research

Major & Minor

We offer degrees in Linguistics as well as many research opportunities for undergraduates

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Graduate Studies

Information on our cross-disciplinary PhD program and our three MA programs. 

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Our research investigates the structure, complexity and diversity of human languages.

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Feature Story

CAREER awards recognize promising junior faculty

Four Rochester scientists have received prestigious NSF CAREER awards, presented to early-career faculty members for research and education initiatives.

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Linguistic Colloquia

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Why Linguistics?

Linguistics workshop

Linguistics training provides students with skills that are important in a rapidly changing society. They learn how to use analytic and theoretical tools, work in collaborative environments, and collect, document, and organize complex research data on human language. They also gain a deep appreciation and understanding of the value of a culturally and linguistically diverse environment.

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Recent News

Joyce McDonough jointly appointed as Richard L. Turner Professor

January 31, 2023

Joyce McDonough, a professor of linguistics, has been jointly appointed as the Richard L. Turne ...

Professor Nadine Grimm receives 2023 Bloomfield Award from LSA

October 11, 2022

Professor Nadine Grimm has been awarded the 2023 Bloomfield Award from the Lingu ...

"A grammar of Gyeli" by Nadine Grimm, assistant professor of linguistics

June 3, 2021

This grammar offers a grammatical description of the Ngòló variety of Gyeli, an endangered ...

A new publication by Nadine Grimm, assistant professor of linguistics, will soon be available

December 16, 2020

"A grammar of Gyeli" is a grammatical description of the Ngòló variety of Gyeli, an endang ...

Congratulations Edgar Yau!

December 16, 2020

Congratulations to Edgar Yau (’20) for publishing a paper in the undergraduate research journa ...

These mentors make a difference for first-generation, minority students

December 16, 2020

In 2019, Professor Maya Abtahian received the David T. Kearns Faculty Mentoring and Teaching award a ...

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Spring 2024 Featured Course

LING 107
Language & Landscape: Water Is Life


Instructor: Professor Joyce McDonough
Day, time: Mondays/Wednesdays, 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Water is on track to be the most pressing environmental issue in the upcoming decades. But beyond its physical substance, what is water? How do we understand its value in our lives? Who controls it? This course will focus on the language and landscape of water, its geography and physical presence on the landscape, to examine how languages shape our actions, understanding and knowledge of what water is in human communities. In the course we’ll examine indigenous points of view around water in the Americas and in Australia and how they embody themselves in their landscapes in relation to water. We’ll examine the language of issues such as access to water, and water rights and the concept of ownership of water. We’ll focus on case studies of current communities coping with the value and role of water in their communities. We’ll touch on aspects of the geography of water: aquifers, rivers, water sources, and practices such as irrigation and mapping to understand the ways that languages embody us in place, using as tools linguistic concepts such place names and toponyms, spacial orientations. The goal of the seminar is to build a base for an informed understanding of how knowledge is coded in languages, and shapes concepts and environmental practices.The course will consist of readings, films and discussion, and final project.

Spring 2024 Featured Course

LING 389
Senior Seminar

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Instructor: Professor Mary Moroney
Day, time: Tuesdays/Thursdays, 11:05 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

This is a hands-on class which allows you to work with a language consultant with the goal of writing a grammar sketch or a short research paper. At the end of this course, you will have acquired methods and techniques to describe a language not known to you previously. This includes recording and collection of data, data processing and analysis. The class is an opportunity to apply the knowledge of linguistic theory that you acquired during your major in linguistic research on an unfamiliar language. Another focus of this course is training in grammar writing skills. Ultimately, this course provides you with a solid basis to do fieldwork for language description and linguistic research in your own in the future. Prerequisites: LING 110, LING 210, LING 220, LING 225

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Center for Language Sciences

The Center for Language Sciences (CLS) is an umbrella organization at the University of Rochester that brings together faculty, postdocs, and graduate students who conduct research on any aspect of human language as a vehicle for active interdisciplinary work.

CLS fosters research and activities that reach across a very broad group of disciplines covering a wide research focus and range of interests. It's a continually evolving organization with a history of serving as a platform for training students and postdocs in interdisciplinary research and enhancing collaborations among members.

Learn More About CLS

Want more information about the Department of Linguistics? Contact us.