Department of Linguistics History

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The Department of Linguistics offers degree programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. in linguistics.

The M.A. program provides broad training in all major areas of the discipline, with three separate streams to suit a variety of interests: language analysis, language and cognition, and language documentation and conservation.

The Ph.D. program offers advanced graduate training for those interested in pursuing a professional career in linguistics, with opportunities to work with leading experts in several subfields of linguistics.

Two special strengths of the department include its focus on the issue of language sustainability and diversity, and its commitment to the study of language through the tools of contemporary cognitive science in addition to more traditional analytic techniques.

Close to one-half of the world's six thousand languages are spoken in Asia and the Pacific-the particular geographic focus of our department. A large portion of these languages are either underdocumented or entirely undocumented, and many have small speaker populations. Several of our faculty enjoy international renown for their research on the languages of Asia and the Pacific, and we are currently the only institution in the United States that offers a graduate program in language documentation and conservation. One of our M.A. programs is specifically designed to prepare students for leadership roles in conservation and documentation efforts, and our Ph.D. program offers similar opportunities at a more advanced level.

Our department contributes to the interdisciplinary effort to understand the workings of the human mind through its experimental work on the language faculty, centered around the College's Language Analysis and Experimentation Laboratories. We have well known and established specialists in the areas of language acquisition and psycholinguistics, we have been heavily involved in the university's Cognitive Science Research Group from its inception, and we are strongly committed to the Medical School's initiative to establish a joint degree program in neuroscience.

Thanks to its location, its mission, its faculty, and its students, the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i is able to offered unparalleled opportunities for research into the workings of language.


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