The interdisciplinary Linguistics minor offers academic courses across a variety of disciplines. The minor was established in 1993 by faculty from the departments of Anthropology, Classics, Communication, Education, English, French Studies, German-Russian, Humanities, and Spanish and Italian. The minor is currently directed by Professor Jerid Francom who is assisted by a core group of faculty members drawn from various departments across campus.
By nature and approach, linguistics is integrated tightly with the core mission of the University. Linguistics encourages students to analyze data and to “ask why,” to evaluate evidence of various kinds that bears on issues of language acquisition and use, and to see multiple perspectives on problems and evaluate them critically. It is inherently interdisciplinary and stimulates an interconnected perspective, drawing on social sciences, liberal arts, and even physical sciences, as in phonetics (acoustics) and psycholinguistics (neuroscience, imaging techniques); and it is oriented towards the many cultural heritages of the world. It investigates language in all its forms (oral, written, signed) as a distinctive and universal trait of what makes us human — arguably, the field that is most “Pro-Humanitate” of all. And it emphasizes both the diversity of an estimated 6,000 languages and their common core in human cognition and sociocultural functions.