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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.


Emeriti: (Professors) Joan Bresnan, Clara N. Bush, Shirley Brice Heath, William R. Leben, Stanley Peters, Elizabeth C. Traugott

Chair: Thomas A. Wasow

Professors: Eve V. Clark, Penelope Eckert (on leave Autumn and Winter), Martin Kay, Paul Kiparsky, Beth Levin, John R. Rickford, Ivan A. Sag (on leave Autumn and Winter), Thomas A. Wasow

Associate Professors: Arto Anttila, Daniel Jurafsky, Christopher Manning, Christopher Potts

Assistant Professor: Meghan Sumner

Courtesy Professors: Herbert H. Clark, Kenji Hakuta, James McClelland, Orrin W. Robinson III, Chao Fen Sun

Courtesy Associate Professors: James A. Fox, Miyako Inoue, Yoshiko Matsumoto

Senior Lecturer: Philip L. Hubbard

Visiting Professor: Arnold Zwicky

Lecturers: Adam Hodges (Autumn and Winter), Asya Pereltsvaig (Winter), Kathryn Potts, Sarah Roberts (Winter and Spring)

Consulting Professors: Ronald Kaplan, Lauri Karttunen, Annie Zaenen

Consulting Associate Professors: Jared Bernstein, Cleo Condoravdi

Department Offices: Margaret Jacks Hall, Building 460

Mail Code: 94305-2150

Phone: (650) 723-4284


Web site:

Courses offered by the Department of Linguistics are listed under the subject code LINGUIST on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Linguistics concerns itself with the fundamental questions of what language is and how it is related to the other human faculties. In answering these questions, linguists consider language as a cultural, social, and psychological phenomenon and seek to determine what is unique in languages, what is universal, how language is acquired, and how it changes. Linguistics is, therefore, one of the cognitive sciences; it provides a link between the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, and hearing and speech sciences.

The department offers courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas central to linguistic theory and analysis. Many of them deal with the analysis of structural patterns in the different components that make up language, including sounds (phonetics and phonology), meanings (semantics and pragmatics), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and the way they vary and change over time. Other courses integrate the analysis of linguistic structure with phenomena that directly concern other disciplines. These include courses in computational linguistics, language acquisition, the philosophy of language, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics.

A variety of open forums provide for the discussion of linguistic issues, including colloquia and regularly scheduled workshops in child language, computational linguistics, phonology, psycholinguistics, semantics, sociolinguistics, and syntax. Faculty and visiting scholars in the department and the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), whose members are computer scientists, linguists, philosophers, and psychologists, participate extensively in the activities of the department.


The mission of the undergraduate program in Linguistics is to provide students with the skills necessary to analyze the structure of the human language including sounds (phonetics and phonology), meanings (semantics and pragmatics), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and the way in which these structural patterns vary and change over time. Courses in the major also integrate the analysis of linguistic structure with phenomena that directly concern other disciplines including computer science, psychology, cognitive science, communication, anthropology, and foreign language. The program provides students with excellent preparation for further study in graduate or professional schools as well as careers in business, social services, government agencies, and teaching.


The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. the ability to formulate theoretically interesting and tractable research questions.
  2. the ability to identify sources of data relevant to answering their research questions.
  3. facility with methods of collecting data relevant to their research questions.
  4. knowledge of analytical methods to apply to the data they have collected.
  5. the ability to bring the results of their data analysis to bear on their research questions.

Graduate Programs in Linguistics

The department offers an M.A., Ph.D., and Ph.D. minor in Linguistics.


Linguistics is participating with the departments of Computer Science, Philosophy, and Psychology in an interdisciplinary program in Cognitive Science for doctoral students. The program is intended to provide an interdisciplinary education as well as a deeper concentration in linguistics. Students who complete the Linguistics and Cognitive Science requirements receive a special designation in Cognitive Science along with the Ph.D. in Linguistics. To receive this field designation, students must complete 30 units of approved courses, to be determined in consultation with the graduate studies adviser.

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