6823 Saint Charles Avenue
  Tulane University
  Dinwiddie Hall
  New Orleans, LA 70118

  Olanike Orie

Interdisciplinary Program in Linguistics


What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It studies both the structure and the use of language. Language is a universal human characteristic. All human languages share some traits, while diverging in particulars. Linguists may describe both universal and specific traits of language and of languages. This knowledge can be applied to a broad spectrum of problems from bilingual education to artificial intelligence, second language learning to conflict resolution.


Areas of study

Linguistics is a broad field. The main subdisciplines listed by the Linguistic Society of America are: writing, grammar, linguistic diversity, language and the brain, prescriptivism, linguistics and literature, slips of the tongue, the sounds of speech, computers and language, machine translation, meaning (pragmatics and semantics), neurolinguistics, history of linguistics, language and thought, discourse analysis, language variation and change, applied linguistics, multilingualism, languages in contact, sociolinguistics, and endangered languages. We cover all these topics in our survey course, the Nature of Language. We offer specialized courses in all but two of these topics: linguistics and literature, and slips of the tongue.


Program profile

Linguistics is an interdisciplinary program in which thirteen departments participate. Participation ranges from teaching less commonly taught language courses to contributing to the university research program. Twelve faculty members have primary research fields within linguistics.

The undergraduate student population is a small, but active group. We currently have 13 undergraduate majors. We graduate 3 to 4 students a year with BAs in linguistics. Our students are outstanding. Of our 3 to 4 graduates a year, 1 to 2 complete honors’ theses. This year we graduated four students, three with honors’ theses. One of our students, Melissa Kronenthal, won a Watson fellowship this year.

Additional resources

We offer a number of less taught languages: Yucatec Maya (modern and classical), Kaqchikel Maya (modern and classical), Nahuatl (modern and classical), Cajun French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Hungarian, Swahili, Yoruba and Kechwa.

We have a strong library collection on Latin America, with texts in many American Indian languages as well as in Spanish and Portuguese. Our Rare Book collections contain untranslated texts that offer excellent resources for research. The Stone Center for Latin American Scholars offers students opportunities to get to the field for summer and more sustained study. The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute has recently begun an initiative for scholarly interchange with, and study programs in Cuba. Louisiana itself is linguistically rich and the Louisiana Collection provides access to local resource materials. The Amistad Center also offers unique collections, as does the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women.

Tulane University, Linguistics, 1326 Audubon Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-3046