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Office: Margaret Jacks Hall, Building 460
Mail Code: 94305-2150
Phone: (650) 498-8720

Courses offered by the Department of Linguistics are listed under the subject code LINGUIST on the Stanford Bulletin's Explore Courses web site.

Linguistics is the study of language as a fundamental human activity. Linguists consider language as a cultural, social, and psychological phenomenon and seek to determine what is universal to all languages and what is specific to individual languages, how language varies across individuals and communities, how it is acquired, how it changes, and how it is processed by humans and machines.  Linguistics is an inherently interdisciplinary field that links the humanities, the social sciences, and the other cognitive sciences, as well as computer science, education, and hearing and speech sciences.

The department offers courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some focus on analyzing structural patterns of sounds (phonetics and phonology), meanings (semantics and pragmatics), words (morphology), sentences (syntax). Others examine how these structures vary over time (historical linguistics), or over individuals and social groups (sociolinguistics), or how language is processed and learned by humans (psycholinguistics and language acquisition) or by computers (computational linguistics).

A variety of open forums provide for the discussion of linguistic issues, including colloquia and regularly scheduled workshops in computational linguistics, phonetics and phonology, psycholinguistics, semantics and pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and syntax and morphology.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Linguistics

The mission of the undergraduate program in Linguistics is to provide students with basic knowledge in the principal areas of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics) and the skills to do more advanced work in these subfields. Courses in the major also involve interdisciplinary work with connections to other programs including anthropology, communication, computer science, education, foreign languages, psychology, and symbolic systems. The program provides students with excellent preparation for further study in graduate or professional schools as well as careers in business, government agencies, social services, and teaching.

Graduate Programs in Linguistics

The department offers an M.A., Ph.D., and Ph.D. minor in Linguistics. For admissions information, please see the Department of Linguistics admissions page. The GRE is not required.

Cognitive Science

Linguistics is participating with the departments of Philosophy and Psychology in an interdisciplinary program in Cognitive Science for doctoral students. The program is intended to provide an interdisciplinary education as well as a deeper concentration in linguistics. Students who complete the Linguistics and Cognitive Science requirements receive a special designation in Cognitive Science along with the Ph.D. in Linguistics.

To receive this designation, students must complete 30 units of approved course work.  The 30 units cannot include courses counted elsewhere towards the Ph.D.  Courses may be drawn from the participating departments, as well as from other departments, as long as their content is appropriate to the designation.  At least 18 of the 30 units must be from outside the student’s major department and must include course work in at least two other departments.  The majority of the courses taken towards the 30 units of coursework must be taken for a letter grade and should be completed with at least a 'B'.  Special topic seminars are excluded in favor of more foundational courses.  

Linguistics Course Catalog Numbering System

Courses numbered under 100 are designed primarily for pre-majors. Courses with 100-level numbers are designed for undergraduate majors and minors; a limited number of 100-level units may apply to a master's or Ph.D. minor. Those with numbers 200 and above are primarily for graduate students, but with consent of the instructor some of them may be taken for credit by qualified undergraduates. At all levels, the final two digits of the course number indicate a special area, as follows:

Linguistics Course Catalog Numbering System


Special Area












Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse


Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics


Sociolinguistics, Language Variation, Change


Language and Culture, Structure of a Language


Methods, Mathematical Linguistics, Statistics


Computational Linguistics


Directed Work, Theses, Dissertations


Emeriti: (Professors) Joan Bresnan, Eve V. Clark, Penelope Eckert, Shirley Brice Heath, Philip L. Hubbard (Senior Lecturer, Language Center), Paul Kiparsky, William R. Leben, Stanley Peters, John R. Rickford, Elizabeth C. Traugott, Thomas A. Wasow

Chair: Christopher Potts

Director of Graduate Studies/Graduate Studies Adviser: Cleo Condoravdi

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Arto Anttila

Professors: Cleo Condoravdi, Daniel Jurafsky, Beth Levin, Christopher Manning, Christopher Potts

Associate Professors: Arto Anttila, Vera Gribanova, Boris Harizanov, Robert Podesva, Meghan Sumner

Assistant Professors: Judith Degen, Nandi Sims

Courtesy Professors: Michael C. Frank, Anne Charity Hudley, Yoshiko Matsumoto, James McClelland, Chao Fen Sun

Courtesy Associate Professors: Noah Goodman, Miyako Inoue, Jonathan Rosa                               

Lecturers: Ariel Chan, Katherine Hilton, Josh Phillips, Chelsea Sanker

Adjunct Professors: Jared Bernstein, Ronald Kaplan, Paul Kay, Annie Zaenen, Arnold Zwicky