Linguistics-Modern Languages - Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Major and Minor in Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of human language. It aims not merely to describe particular languages, but to characterize and account for the nature of language and for the human ability to learn and use it. Linguists address the phenomenon of language from a variety of perspectives. Some are concerned with the cognitive aspects of language learning, production and comprehension; some are concerned with language as a social and cultural phenomenon; others engage in the analysis of linguistic structure, some from a functional and others from a formal perspective. Some linguists are concerned with computational implementations of linguistic theory for both practical and theoretical purposes. In all cases, a central question for linguists is to understand not only the wonderful variety of the world’s languages but also what these languages have in common: what it is that makes a human language human. The study of language thus contributes vitally to our understanding of human society, human culture, and human minds.

The interdepartmental Major and Minor in Linguistics is sponsored by the departments of English, Modern Languages, Philosophy and Psychology and the Language Technologies Institute. It synthesizes the linguistics related offerings in these departments and provides students with an academic experience that reflects both the interdisciplinary character of the subject and its cross-departmental representation at Carnegie Mellon.

View a detailed listing of curriculum requirements for the Major in Linguistics and Minor in Linguistics.

For more information, contact the program director, Tom Werner, Instructor of Philosophy.