Linguistics is the systematic study of human language. Linguists are interested in language per se, as a complex product of the human mind. They are also interested in how language changes over time, how it is acquired and how it develops in children, and how it is used in society.

A window into human nature

What are the properties shared by all human languages? What do they say about human nature? What are the differences attested across languages?

Different modalities

Languages may be spoken or signed “on the hands”. In what ways do spoken and signed languages differ? In what ways are they the same?

Puzzles all around us

Students who like word games and puzzles are drawn into the fun of identifying the abstract patterns found in language and making hypotheses about how they are represented in the mind of a speaker.

So similar and yet also so different

The languages of the world are extremely diverse, yet we also know that they have many things in common. Understanding the similarities and differences drives a large part of linguistic research.

A product of the mind

How is language represented and computed in the human mind? What can we do to help people whose ability to use language is somehow impaired?

Language and technology

What is the mathematical structure of human language? How do Alexa and Siri understand what I’m saying? 


American Sign Language

We are driven by our students’ enthusiasm for learning about ASL and Deaf culture.  By teaching ASL, we are educating aspiring leaders – who will serve all sectors of society – about the challenges specific to the Deaf community. 

American Sign Language




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