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.

Brooks Hall
NCALA 2014
Linguistics Students
Linguistics Students

News & Announcements

Linguistic interaction includes more than just words; the gestures, gaze, and bodily orientations that accompany speech all help us to understand one another. And just like speech, these ‘multimodal’ aspects of communication differ across...

On May 16, 2020, the Linguistics Program hosted a virtual ceremony for graduating Linguistics MA students and undergraduate Linguistics majors. The recording can be viewed below, or by visiting ...

"Along with Norton’s interest in dwindling and little-known languages came an interest in understanding why it’s important to preserve them."

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In contrast to computer algorithms, humans are able to comprehend speech in challenging acoustical conditions like cocktail parties. To understand this remarkable ability, Meliza's research examines a perceptual illusion called auditory...

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...

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