The Linguistics Department at Cornell is a center for research in the core areas of theoretical linguistics – syntax, phonology, semantics, pragmatics and phonetics – as well as the interdisciplinary fields of computational linguistics, and historical linguistics. A distinctive feature of the departmental character is research at the various interfaces, such as phonetics-phonology, phonology-syntax, and syntax-semantics. Many of the faculty have expertise in particular language areas, ranging from Romance, Germanic, and Slavic to Cheyenne; the department is a distinguished center for comparative linguistics. Members of the department are also involved in various interdepartmental activities with faculty and students in Computer Science, Psychology, Classics and Philosophy.
The department is relatively small (15 faculty members, ~30 graduate students), and this allows for a very interactive and supportive research environment. Our program is structured to allow and encourage graduate students to make an early start on their own research projects. Individual mentoring is assured, and our students regularly present their work at national and international conferences and publish in professional journals.
There are several labs and research groups which facilitate the research activities of both students and faculty. Experimental studies which scrutinize theoretical questions of current relevance underlie much student and faculty research. Fieldwork is another important component of our research profile, and several faculty work on endangered languages.
Our Colloquium Series features distinguished visiting speakers, and we have talks by department members as well. The department hosts several conferences and workshops each year. Graduate students and faculty also meet regularly in informal reading groups in various areas. Graduate students have the opportunity to present their work in either the colloquium or the reading groups, and thereby gain valuable professional experience early on in their careers. Working papers and occasional papers are published by the CLC and PLab.