University of Rochester

About Us


The Center for Language Sciences (CLS) is an interdisciplinary center supporting research and training in natural language. We bring together faculty and students with interests in spoken and signed languages across departments and programs, including:

Our faculty have combined expertise in formal, behavioral, computational, and imaging (fMRI, ultrasound) approaches to understanding the structure, processing, production, and acquisition of natural language. 

The CLS also features events and workshops, access to working papers, formal coursework in contributing departments, shared laboratory and computational facilities, and pre- and post-doctoral support from the University of Rochester.


The CLS originates in an interdisciplinary colloquium series founded in 1988 by Thomas Bever and Greg Carlson. Made possible by a generous donation from Kodak, these colloquia fostered collaboration between the disciplines of cognitive science, psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience.

In 1996 negotiations led by Michael Tanenhaus with deans Richard Aslin and Tom LeBlanc resulted in a more formal establishment of the center with support from the University of Rochester, including graduate support and an interdisciplinary colloquium series. From 1993 to 2013 the CLS was funded by the National Institutes of Health as one of the first and longest-running training centers for multidisciplinary research on language.

Today the CLS provides partial funding for graduate students and postdocs. The center also serves as a platform to support training in interdisciplinary work, and for the mutual organization of interdisciplinary research and activities.


CLS alumni are working in many academic departments and in industry across the United States and abroad in fields like cognitive sciences, computer science, linguistics, speech and hearing, and psychology. For more information, see our alumni page.