Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It is interdisciplinary, overlapping the human sciences (including psychology, neurology, anthropology and sociology), the humanities, and the arts. In other words, you’ll find the study of language reflected in almost everything you do.
Linguists conduct formal and cognitive studies of sound structure, grammar and meaning. They also investigate the history of language families, and research language acquisition. And as other scientists, they formulate hypotheses, make observations, and work to support explanatory theories.
Discovering Rules in an Extinct Language: Sound Patterns of Osage
The goal of this class is to address the following question: How do we know what the rules of language are like? We will address this question via a close study of sound patterns of Osage, a recently extinct Native American language. The importance of language preservation and formal methods of inquiry will be underlying themes of the course. Active group work and class presentations will be key forms of evaluation. In taking this course, students will be prepared to take further courses in linguistics and related topics.
Program in Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD)
For students interested in the intersections between cognitive and cultural development of language, the Foundation for Psychocultural Research-Hampshire College Program in Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) provides a great resource. CBD is an interdisciplinary effort to reconceptualize the intersections of neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, and related fields, sponsoring seminars, lectures, research grants, and cross-school courses.
Hampshire's own event-related potential (ERP) laboratory, an electrophysiological data collection and brainwave-imaging facility, is available for use by students looking to conduct original, participatory research in the fields of linguistics and cognition.
Five College Consortium
The Linguistics Department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst is a world-renowned program at the graduate and undergraduate levels, recently ranked first in quality of education by the National Research Council. This resource is open to Hampshire students through the Five College consortium, and many linguistics concentrators have taken graduate-level courses as part of their Hampshire education.