The Graduate Center’s Linguistics program draws on the resources of New York City and of its great public university to help students develop expertise in the one of world’s most exciting fields.Contact Us
November 1 (Spring 2024 enrollment for M.A. in Linguistics with Computational Linguistics)
December 5 (Fall Enrollment only)
Open House is set for October 19, 2023.
Modality: primarily online, with in person opportunities. Online (with in person option). See schedule to register for specialization panels. Please visit our Admissions and Aid page for admissions tips and recommendations.
Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center
Our Ph.D. and M.A. programs ready students for opportunities in academia, private industry, public service, and more.
We offer coursework, laboratory experience, and research supervision in theoretical, experimental, descriptive, and applied linguistics. Our students master the discipline of linguistics in its broadest sense, acquire knowledge of a specialized area, and carry out independent research.
Students may choose to enter our programs with possible specializations in:
Computational Linguistics lies at the intersection of linguistics and computer science. The field focuses on how computers and algorithms can be used to model the sounds, grammar, and meaning of human language. Professionals and researchers in computational linguistics apply computational and statistical techniques to linguistic data, in order to answer challenging questions in linguistics research and to build useful computer software and websites that intelligently process information in the form of human language.
According to UNESCO, "It is estimated that, if nothing is done, half of the 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century." Linguistics students and faculty who specialize in Endangered Languages are actively engaged in documenting and supporting the cultural wealth and ancestral knowledge embedded in these languages.
Language Acquisition is a broad field, with topics including first language acquisition, second language acquisition, bilingualism, and multilingualism, examining both children and adults.
Phonology is a central area of research and study in the Linguistics program. Students are encouraged to describe understudied sound patterns, explore theoretical implications of common and uncommon sound patterns, understand sound patterns in terms of their phonetic bases and historical developments, and design experiments to better understand the nature of phonological knowledge and its relationship to morphology, syntax and semantics.
Semantics is an active and growing area of the Graduate Center's Linguistics Program. Recent dissertations have investigated Chinese wh-indeterminates (Chen), Korean Negative Polarity Items (Lee-Sikka), English amount superlatives (Wilson), Korean topic and case markers (Chung), de se/de re interpretations of Icelandic pronouns (Reeves), Japanese quantifiers (Kobuchi-Philip), English indexicals (Bevington). On-going research by students is on topics as varied as implicature acquisition, subjunctive conditionals, semantic T(ense)-A(spect)-M(odality) interactions, the semantics of imperatives, and the syntax/semantics of predication.
Sociolinguistics studies the place of language in society, investigating the connections that hold between language and social categories such as class, gender, and ethnicity, as well as the connections between variable features and their conditioning contexts within the language. Students and faculty have used sociolinguistic techniques to investigate such topics as creolization, urban language varieties, dialect contact in urban settings, and bilingual contact phenomena.
Syntax at the Graduate Center is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative. Syntax faculty and students are closely involved with research conducted in a number of related areas within the Linguistics Program: semantics, first and second language acquisition, sentence processing, sociolinguistics, field linguistics, and language documentation, to name a few. Syntactic research at The Graduate Center covers a broad range of languages and topics. The program produces empirically rich and theoretically significant research across a wide variety of empirical and analytical domains, preparing students for careers in both academia and industry.
Remembering a Revered Teacher and Mentor
The Graduate Center community was deeply saddened by the passing of Distinguished Professor Emerita Janet Dean Fodor, a prominent psycholinguist. Read our tribute to her and see how those who knew her can share their memories and honor her life.
Friday, October 6, 2023
Join us for our Sociolinguistics Lunch with Haroun Melgani from Oum El Bouaghi University.
2:00 pm — 4:00 pm
Hybrid (see description for details)
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Prospective students are invited to learn more about the Ph.D./M.A. program in Linguistics, including information about our specializations, meet alumni and current students, and more.
10:00 am — 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Join us for the Linguistics Colloquium with speaker William Sakas from Hunter College.
4:15 pm — 6:15 pm
Hybrid (see description for details)
Focus on Research
Students engage in research projects that interest them with guidance from chosen faculty advisers, who are recognized experts in their fields. Students also have the opportunity to participate in research laboratories and institutes including the Computational Lab, the CSI-CUNY Speech Laboratory, the Second Language Acquisition Lab, the Speech Lab, the Speech Production Laboratory, the Speech Acoustic and Perception Laboratory, the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society, and the Endangered Language Initiative.Explore Research Labs and Initiatives
Interdisciplinary work is common among our students and faculty. Many faculty and students complement their linguistics teaching and study with work in anthropology, computer science, language studies, speech and hearing science, and urban education. The Graduate Center is also a member of the Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium, which allows matriculated Graduate Center doctoral students to pursue related study at other members institutions, including Columbia University and NYU.Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium
Exploring Linguistics in NYC
New York City is one of the most linguistically diverse places on earth. Our program encourages students to focus their research on the under-described and threatened languages within the city as well as beyond it. Students can also take advantage of New York’s rich resources for research and academic exploration, from the New York Public Library to the wide variety of archives and collections across the city.
Prof. Alberta Gatti
Prof. Alberta Gatti received a U.S. Department of Education International and Foreign Languages Study Program award ($193,000). This will allow her GC team (and Cristina Lozano Argüelles from John Jay College) to investigate if vocabulary knowledge indexes proficiency in Spanish heritage speakers. Her team will also investigate an application of AI for placement purposes in three languages (Mandarin, Korean and Spanish). Dr. Syelle Graves, a Program graduate is a co-PI for this project. Here is a bit more information on the project:https://iletc.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2023/09/20/iletc-receives-u-s-department-of-education-grant-for-their-language-placement-for-equitable-learning-lapel-project/
Olivia Mignone (Ph.D. student) will present her research “The Place of Himalayan Languages in the Linguistic Landscape of Jackson Heights” at the 14th Linguistic Landscape Workshop: Utopías and Dystopías at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Sept. 7th, 2023.
Prof. Kyle Gorman (et al) received a $150,000 start-up grant from the US – Israel Binational Science Foundation for a project titled “Diacritization for the World's Scripts”
Prof. Irina Sekerina (and Natalia Meir, David Anaki, Bar-Ilan University, Israel) received a BSF-NSF (United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation) grant for the project entitled "Language processing in bilingual children in L1 and L2: Prediction and integration of morphosyntactic information" 2023-2027 ($193,600.00).
SUMMARY: The proposed project will chart new territories in child bilingual language processing by conducting a set of three innovative experiments aiming to investigate mechanisms of prediction and integration of morphosyntactic information in bilingual children. We will test whether and how processes of prediction and integration of morphosyntactic information are different in bilingual children as compared to their monolingual peers. Possible L1-L2 interaction will be addressed within the Unified Competition Model (MacWhinney, 2008, 2012). We will also test whether prediction and integration during spoken sentence comprehension rely on production as per the Prediction-by-Production Account (Pickering & Gambi, 2018) or alternatively, whether bilinguals show a production-comprehension asymmetry (Grimm et al., 2011; Prévost & White, 2000).
Prof. Sekerina will give a keynote talk at the RUEG Conference 2023 - Linguistic Variability in Heritage Language Research (26-28 Sept. 2023) in Berlin: https://www.linguistik.hu-berlin.de/en/institut-en/professuren-en/rueg/networking-1/rueg-conference-2021/rueg-conferene-2023-linguistic-variability-in-heritage-language-research. The title of her keynote talk is "How corpus and experimental studies of heritage languages can inform each other."
ABSTRACT: Knowledge about heritage language (HL) grammars is dependent on a large amount of (psycho)linguistic resources of three types (Keuleers & Morielli, 2020): (1) corpora that contain objective data about properties of HLs, (2) behavioral experiments that rely on design and stimuli provided by researchers; and (3) abstract concepts, such theories, formalisms, and algorithms. In this talk, I will describe methodological advances in how these resources form a dynamic system in the field of HL bilingualism. I will illustrate (1) with our new Brazilian Portuguese-Russian corpus (BraPoRus, Sekerina et al., 2023) of elderly bilingual heritage Russian speakers living in Brazil and compare it to RUEG (Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations), and (2) with the eye-tracking experiments in the Visual World Paradigm that can be conducted with heritage speakers in-person and online (eye-tracking without an eye tracker, Özsoy et al., 2023). I will conclude that both types of resources are suitable and necessary to study heritage speakers’ grammars.