Language is central to virtually all human activity. Indeed, many argue that language was the single most important factor in the differentiation of the human species from other hominids. Linguists study language as a specialized communicative system with its own distinctive principles of structure and patterning. Apart from the traditional subfields of phonology (the patterning of speech sounds), morphology (word-building processes), and syntax (rules of phrase and sentence formation), there are the interdisciplinary research areas with connections to philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and literature. These include semantics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and linguistic anthropology.

A BA or MA in linguistics permits a student to explore both the independent and interdisciplinary aspects of human language. Courses focus on the analysis of language both at a given point in time and as it changes over time, and cover diverse contemporary approaches to data.

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News & Announcements

The students in UVa’s Spring 2019 "Literacy and Orality” seminar, led by linguistics program director Lise Dobrin, documented the graffiti in the Alderman Library study carrels that will be lost in the Library renovation. The project culminated...

In fall 2019, the Linguistics Program welcomes two postdoctoral researchers, Sam Beer (Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder, 2017) and Joseph Brooks (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, 2018).

Beer will be digitizing,...

In March 2019, together with Erin Griffin, Director of Dakota Studies at Sisseton-Wahpeton College in South Dakota, Lise Dobrin and Mark Sicoli attended the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation in Honolulu, HI....

Mark Sicoli, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics published a paper “Differential coding of perception in the world’s languages” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where it is demonstrated that, contrary...

Vikram Jaswal, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Nameera Akhtar, Professor of Psychology at UC-Santa Cruz, published a paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, challenging social motivation explanations and interventions in autism....

U.Va. TESOL Certificate Program

Linguistic Anthropology Seminar

The UVa Linguistic Anthropology Seminar is an informal, interdisciplinary venue for presentations of work in progress by faculty, students, and visiting scholars in linguistic anthropology, linguistics, and related fields. To volunteer a talk or propose a discussion topic, contact Prof. Lise Dobrin

Virginia Linguistics Club

The Virginia Linguistics Club (VLC) serves as a network and resource for students interested in linguistics. To find out more about the VLC, contact club president John Tiernan