For FAQ and information regarding Western's response to the coronavirus, visit the coronavirus site.
The office of the Department of Linguistics, and the Linguistics Resource and Computer Labs are currently closed. There are many things Kristin Denham and Sara Helms can assist you with by phone or email. They can help with advising, declaring a major or minor, or completing a degree evaluation electronically.
In Memoriam: Shaw Gynan
Last month we lost an important member of our linguistics community, Dr. Shaw Gynan. Read more HERE>>
American Dialect Society Word of the Year 2020
Learn more HERE>>
Department welcomes two new Assistant Professors
Welcome Prospective and Incoming Students
Read our Racial Justice Statement
Read our Racial Justice Statement HERE
Spring 2020 Newsletter
Western's Department of Linguistics is excited to share our latest newsletter. Check it out HERE.
The Department of Linguistics would like to recognize the hard work of our students and alumni who presented at the 2020 Northwest Linguistics Conference, April 25-26. The conference, hosted by the University of Washington, moved to an entirely online format following social distancing guidelines related to the Covid-19 outbreak. Read more about it HERE.
Western's Dr. Kristin Denham chosen as the LSA's featured member for April 2020.
Emily Hillman, a linguistics major and one of our Linguistics Faculty Assistants, created a ton of PSAs with inspiration from the students in Language Variation and Change, the Western Talks Project, and other student research. See the PSAs
LSA 2020 Annual Meeting
We have a full crew representing Western at the 2020 Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting in New Orleans. From left, Dr. Jordan Sandoval, Dr. Kristin Denham, Dr. Emily Curtis, student Calli Hilvitz, and student Abi Freitag.
Calli and Abi were able to attend this year's conference thanks to the support of Western's College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the AS Student Enhancement Fund, and our generous donors. To make a donation to Western's Linguistics Department, visit www.wwu.edu/give.
"For decades, WWU Linguist Ed Vajda argued Native Americans are linked by language to Central Asia. But can historical linguistics build a case to convince the scientific community?" - From the Window article "Linguistic Sleuth," by John Thompson.
Western's Dr. Jordan Sandoval (right) poses with Arizona State University colleague Dr. Amy LaCross at the 178th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in San Diego, Dec. 2019. Sandoval and LaCross shared their research, along with ASU's Dr. Julie Liss. Their project was titled, "Influence of word size and tonal sequence probability on Mandarin well-formedness judgments."
Western meets Brčko, the only self-governing, free city in Europe
The students of LING 402: Language and Society: Language(s) of the Balkans, taught by Fulbright Visiting Professor Marija Runić, Ph.D., from Bosnia and Herzegovina, participated in an online class with high school students from ‘Poliglota’ Language Institute of Brčko, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Brčko is the seat of Brčko District, a self-governing administrative unit, that has become a symbol of multiethnic coexistence in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. The students discussed their life on campus and in school, the education system in the two countries, and other topics of their interest. The Bosnian students had the chance to speak to native speakers of English for the first time.
High school students from Brčko pose while video chatting with linguistics students at Western, fall 2019. Photo courtesy of Marija Runic.
Western Washington University
Department of Linguistics
See our Mission Statement
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. There are many ways to pursue the study of language, and as in any scientific discipline, researchers have varied goals, distinct questions to pose, and different directions of research. Some linguists study the grammar, or rule system, of language, and others are more interested in the social factors, such as gender, age, ethnicity and other variables, that influence how we use language. Still others study how languages change over time, how children acquire language, or how our brains process and produce language. Communication in today’s complex society requires knowledge of the workings of language in general and of specific languages as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures. All Linguistics majors are expected to acquire knowledge of the workings of language at various levels and demonstrate data analysis and other methodological techniques used to study language. A student of linguistics will thereby significantly advance their understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity and will have the tools to work in and across disciplines to explore questions related to language, and to therefore understand and advance what it means to be human.
Emily Hillman, Outstanding Graduate, 2020
"When I applied to Western, I was interested in language learning and teaching but unaware that an entire field was dedicated to the study of language. I didn’t know that language could be studied systematically, much less through an analytical or philosophical lens. It was in my first linguistics course that I realized that the field of linguistics allows us to ask bigger questions about the role of language in our society and culture. Through Western’s Linguistics Department, I attended countless research presentations and met linguists from across the nation and around the world. I proposed original ideas and worked closely with my professors to write papers on everything from linguistic theory to the applications of linguistics in second language acquisition and teaching. I was able to meet native speakers of the languages I studied and incorporate their questions and examples into my work. The tremendous instruction, feedback, and mentorship that I received from Western’s linguistics professors taught me how to think critically about language, draw my own conclusions, and substantiate my claims with examples. Western’s Linguistics Department provided me with a skill set that complements my background in TESOL and Spanish and translates into my future work as a teacher and researcher."
“It’s the best possible combination of fields – math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It’s impossible to get bored and there’s always something to learn.”
Western Washington University
516 High Street, MS 9190
Bellingham, WA 98225
Location: Bond Hall 418