Linguistics, the systematic study of human language, lies at the crossroads of the humanities and the social sciences. Much of its appeal derives from the special combination of intuition and rigor that the analysis of language demands. More information about linguistics can be found here, on the Linguistic Society of America webpage.
To promote an understanding for what linguists study, we develop opportunities for local secondary students to learn about linguistics in various ways:
Linguistics Information Sessions
Each year we hold Linguistics information sessions at local area schools and Cornell University. The goal of the information session is to give middle and high school students a sense of what linguists do and what sort of data linguists work with. We introduce students to a number of topics, including how words are formed, how sentences are structured to express meaning, and how speech sounds are put together. Students have an opportunity to learn some linguistic skills and practice linguistic problem-solving.
The Linguistics Olympiad
For the past several years the linguistics department has been a local host site for The Linguistics Olympiad (aka NACLO). In preceding years we have had between 20 and 40 participants: high schoolers, middle schoolers, and home schoolers from across the county. Each year we expand our recruitment efforts to increase participation.
Cornell Linguistics Outreach Network
In order to expand our outreach activities we have created the Cornell linguistics outreach network, through which we communicate information about these activities with local schools in Tompkins County. If you would like to be added to this network, please email us at the address below.
Any questions can be directed to LinguisticsOutreach@cornell.edu.
If you are interested in learning more about linguistics as a possible major in college, see the description of our undergraduate program and feel free to contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Abby Cohn, with questions.