Linguistics (LING)College of Arts and Humanities
1401 Marie Mount Hall, 301-405-7002
Chair: W. Idsardi
Professors: N. Hornstein, H. Lasnik (Dist Univ Prof), J. Lidz, C. Phillips, P. Pietroski, P. Resnik, J. Uriagereka, A. Weinberg
Associate Professors: V. Hacquard
Assistant Professors: N. Feldman, E. Lau, A. Williams
Instructors: A. Zukowski (Asst Res Sci)
Lecturers: M. Antonisse (Senior lecturer), T. Bleam (Senior lecturer)
The Linguistics Department offers courses on many aspects of the scientific study of language and an interdisciplinary major leading to a Bachelor of Arts.
Work on language has provided one of the main research probes in philosophy and psychology for most of the last century. Language research has proven to be a fruitful means to cast light on the nature of the human mind and on general cognitive capacity. Courses in the major allow students to investigate the species-specific characteristics of human language. Research in linguistics aims to discover how a person's linguistic capacity is represented in the mind, how that knowledge is acquired, what aspects are innate, and how language is processed in the mind and brain. Students learn how to address these questions through various sources of evidence, such as descriptions of individual languages, patterns of grammatical variation and invariance, the development of language in children, the mental processes of language in use, computational models of acquisition and processing, and patterns of physiological activity in the brain.
The major in Linguistics is designed for students who are primarily interested in human language per se, or in describing particular languages in a systematic and psychologically plausible way, or in using language as a tool to reveal some aspect of human mental capacities. Such a major provides useful preparation for further research in linguistics and cognitive science, as well as for professional programs in foreign languages, language teaching, communication, psychology, speech pathology, and artificial intelligence. Because of the emphasis placed on analytic thinking, scientific reasoning, and evidence-based argumentation, the linguistics major also prepares students for a broad range of careers outside of the language sciences.
Program Learning Outcomes
The Department of Linguistics B.A. program seeks to expose majors to fundamental questions about the nature of the human mind, using Language as a vehicle for examining this issue. The program aims to cultivate strong empirical research skills, data analysis, application of scientific methodology, and the ability to communicate clear, logical arguments.
Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities
Students can become involved in a wide range of research activities including computer programming and experimental projects in language acquisition , psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics . Selected undergraduate students work alongside faculty and graduate students—learning to design, execute, and analyze experiments—within our Language Acquisition Lab and our Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory . For more information about ongoing research, lab facilities, and opportunities for undergraduate involvement, go to the following web pages:
Requirements for the Major
A grade of at least "C-" is required in all major courses. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.
There are no requirements for support courses for the Linguistics major.
Other Requirements for the Major
Requirements for the Minor
15 credit hours: LING200, 240, 321, 311, and one upper level linguistics elective.
Linguistics majors have a dual system of advising. The department advisor is a faculty member in the Linguistics department and advises students about major requirements and courses. For more general advising (about general education requirements, ARHU requirements, etc), students will go to their college (ARHU) advisor. Students may choose to make appointments every semester with either or both advisors, but will have mandatory advising at both the departmental and college level at three different points:
Failure to meet with both advisors for mandatory advising will result in being blocked from registering for classes for the following semester.
Undergraduate Research Experiences
There are opportunities in the department for undergraduate students to get involved in doing research. Students interested in research in linguistics should submit a resume and/or project proposal to the undergraduate advisor or to an appropriate faculty member. Attempts will be made to match students with appropriate faculty advisors. The possibility of doing research is not guaranteed for every student, but will depend on the student's skills and the availability and willingness of a faculty member to direct the project.
Academically talented Linguistics majors with junior standing may petition to become honors candidates in Linguistics. Honors students work on a research project under a faculty advisor, write an honors thesis, and present the work in a public forum.
Student Societies and Professional Organizations
The UMD undergraduate linguistics club is called the Association of Student Linguists. Information can be obtained by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .
Also, students can apply for a Linguistics Department Baggett Scholarship to work (in a paid position) as a research assistant during the summer.
Awards and Recognition
The Department of Linguistics offers several Baggett Summer Scholarships every year. These are paid, faculty-mentored summer research positions open to UMD undergraduate students with training in linguistics or cognitive science.
More information can be found on the website at: www.ling.umd.edu/baggett/ .