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Exploring language’s complexity and structure

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Combining humanistic and scientific concerns

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Collaborating across departments and disciplines

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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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Linguistic Colloquia

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Recent News

Greg Carlson named Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America

January 24, 2017

Greg Carlson, Professor of Linguistics, Philosophy, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Director o ...

Joint PhD program funding announced

December 3, 2016

Applications for a fully-funded joint PhD program in Linguistics focusing on cross-disciplinary trai ...

New Masters Programs in Linguistics

December 2, 2016

Two new Masters programs are introduced, MA (LDD) and MS (MSCS).


Events, talks, workshops, and conferences of interest to linguists and friends in the Western New York area.

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Students in Class

Did you Know?

Languages are grouped into sets of related languages called 'language families'. There are approximately 320-350 distinct language families in the world.

At the time of European contact, there were 3 language families in Europe (Indo-European, Uralic, and Basque, an isolate), and over 30 in North America.

According to UNESCO, it is estimated that half of the 6,000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of the 21st century.

94% of the languages in the world are spoken by 6% of its population.

The most biologically diverse places in the world tend to be the most linguistically diverse.

University of Rochester Senior Lecturer in Linguistics Nadine Grimm leads Field Methods in Linguistic Description.

Searching for Words

What’s at stake when languages are lost?

Linguists estimate that by the end of this century, half of the 7,000 languages currently in use around the world will have vanished. Rochester scholars join the race—and to train a new generation of scholars—to document the world’s linguistic diversity before it’s too late.

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Nearly 7,000 languages are spoken around the world, yet close to half are expected to become extinct by the end of the 21st century. When a language is lost, so is the culture of the people who spoke it. Linguistics faculty travel the world to study, transcribe, and analyze languages.

Why Linguistics?

The department provides students at all levels rigorous training in skills that are highly viable in our rapidly changing society. They learn how to use analytic and theoretical tools, work in collaborative environments, and collect and organize complex research data. They also gain a deep appreciation and understanding of the value of a culturally and linguistically diverse environment. Upon graduation, students pursue careers in a variety of wide ranging fields, from law to forensics to library science.

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