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Welcome to the Department of Linguistics

Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations.

― Edward Sapir, Language: an Introduction to the Study of Speech



Mission

The UNM Department of Linguistics is the only degree-granting linguistics program in one of the most multilingual and multicultural states in the U.S. As such, it bears particular responsibilities both to the field of linguistics and to the residents of the region it serves. The department thus has two concerns: (1) teaching and research on language structure and use, and (2) service to society on language-related issues. The department's approach to linguistic theory takes a primarily cognitive-functional perspective that focuses on language structure as interacting with language use. Data-driven and fieldwork methods are emphasized to support usage-based analyses of dynamic language phenomena.  This orientation emphasizes the study of language typology, change, discourse, interaction, variation, interpreting, processing, and acquisition. The department is particularly concerned with the study of regional languages (especially Navajo, varieties of Spanish, and indigenous languages of the Americas) and signed languages (American Sign Language, in particular). This theoretical approach provides the foundation for effectively addressing our commitment to the application of linguistics to social concerns, including minority language maintenance and empowerment of minority communities. Thus, the department not only studies and teaches about the structure and use of language, but also encourages faculty and student involvement as advocates and participants in outreach to the linguistic communities in which we carry out research.

Linguistics Dept

Announcements


  • If you are interested in applying to our PhD program, please read about our Greenberg Fellowship award
  • Associate Professors Naomi Shin and Barbara Shaffer with collaborator Jill Morford were among 10 UNM scientists selected for the 2017 Women in Stem Awards distributed by Advance at UNM, a five-year National Science Foundation-funded project that aims to boost women and minorities in STEM at the University of New Mexico.
  • UNM will confer upon Mrs. Cora McKenna of Nambé Pueblo the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.) for her language revitalization work in collaboration with Professor Melissa Axelrod.  The degree will be conferred at the University Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13 at 9am in WisePies Arena (The Pit), with an additional recognition at the Department of Linguistics Convocation on Saturday, May 13 at 1pm in Keller Hall.
  • Graduate student Andrés Sabogal, who recently returned from completing fieldwork on Wayuunaiki in Columbia, has been selected for the prestigious Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship!
  • Congratulations to Keiko Beers who was awarded a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship for her study of language obsolescence and language change in Tohono O’odham.
  • Associate Professors Naomi Shin and Barbara Shaffer were awarded an ADVANCE at UNM Women in STEM Faculty Development Award along with their collaborator, Professor Jill Morford, to investigate minority language development.
  • Congratulations to undergraduate Linguistics Major Shelby Zubia, who was selected for the third cohort of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows. Shelby’s research on language revitalization will be mentored by Lecturer Dawn Nordquist.
  • Linguistics & English Departments jointly host seminar Friday, April 21, 1pm to 4pm in the Waters Room of Zimmerman Library on Jobs Outside the Professoriate as part of a NEH Next Generation grant awarded to UNM to explore Career Diversity for PhDs in the Humanities.
  • Check out this story about Assistant Professor Rosa Vallejos who was the Featured Linguist on the Linguist List, the official blog of the Linguistic Society of America!
  • Professor Ana Celia Zentella spoke to standing-room-only crowd of both university and community members on February 17, 2017 as the keynote of Language Diversity Awareness Week.  Our appreciation goes out to the HDLS leadership, students and faculty who contributed to a week of stimulating presentations.
  • Professor Bill Croft awarded a Teaching Allocation Grant by the Center for Teaching Excellence to develop an online tool to teach students how to graphically analyze sentence structure.
  • Welcome back to Professor Barbara Shaffer, returning from a sabbatical which allowed her to make significant progress on a book with co-author Terry Janzen of the University of Manitoba entitled Intersubjectivity in Interpretation: A Cognitive View of Interpreter-Mediated Discourse, forthcoming in the John Benjamins Human Cognitive Processing series.
  • Professor Melissa Axelrod honored with Ken Hale Award at the 2017 meeting of the Linguistic Society of America on January 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas.
  • Professor Emerita Joan Bybee named Collitz professor of the 2017 Linguistic Institute.