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.Request Information
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.
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. Cece Cutler co-organized a seminar at the Inter University Centre in Dubrovnik
Prof. Cece Cutler co-organized a seminar on multilingual, multilectal, and multiscriptal writing at the Inter University Centre in Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 20-24, 2022. She gave a talk entitled "Spelling norms and orality: writing the New York City Accent on YouTube".
Prof. Cutler co-organized a panel on language activism
Prof. Cutler co-organized a panel on language activism at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 24 in Ghent, Belgium, July 13-16, 2022 . She will give a talk entitled "Labelling ethnolects: challenges and potentials in light of the “principle of error correction”.
Prof. Kyle Gorman: Seminar and Workshop
Prof. Kyle Gorman will be giving a NL seminar at the Information Sciences Institute at University of Southern California on June 23, 2022, titled, “Weighted Finite-State Transducers: The Later Years”.
Prof. Gorman will also be teaching a linguistics workshop at NASSLLI 2022, June 18-24 at the University of Southern California, hosted by USC: https://ml-la.github.io/nasslli2022/index.html.
Congratulations to our 2021-2022 graduates!
PhD: Boram Kim, Susana Huidobro, Chaya Nove, SeJin Oh, and Jennifer Seale
MA: Kelsey Bourque, Matthew Kadish, Jonathan I. Manczur, Lara Novic, William Oliver, Yuying Ren, Yulia Spektor, Natalia Tyulina, and Brynne Wilkinson