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About Us

The Linguistics Program at Duke is a unique interdisciplinary program offering undergraduate classes, majors and minors, and honors thesis supervision. We look at the use and structure of language in many contexts, and from many different perspectives. 

Linguistics majors are able to analyze and use language effectively, but they also develop excellent problem-solving, pattern-recognition and critical thinking skills that are highly valued in the job and graduate school markets. Many students go on to law or medical school, or other post-graduate training; others successfully pursue careers in a variety of fields including the media, advertising and marketing, finance, and education.

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Anti-Racism Statement

The Linguistics Program is active in anti-racism efforts in outreach to students, faculty and collaborations with our colleagues across the Triangle at NCSU, NCCU, NC A&T, UNC-CH, and K-12 teachers and students through course work, lectures and research. 

We are active in educating our communities about the risks of linguistic discrimination in fragile communities. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Center for Advancing Opportunity (TMCF) defines fragile communities as “areas with high proportions of residents who struggle financially in their daily lives and have limited opportunities for social mobility” (2018: 2). Such communities experience, in the phrase coined by Judith Butler, precarity. One of the issues present across all of these communities is discrimination based on the fragile or precarious community’s use of particular linguistic forms and dialects.

Undergraduate Programs

Our linguistics major is unusual in its range of theoretical approaches coupled to the study of languages of the world. The major maintains the traditional and mainstream body of linguistic inquiry (general linguistic theory, sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, neurolinguistics) and, at the same time, encourages exploration of the most recent developments in language study that issue from cultural and literary theory and the biological sciences.

We also offer a minor, as well as an interdepartmental major with Computer Science.

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Featured Courses

Featured Course

Computational Approaches Language Processing will provide insights into Natural Language Processing (NLP), a multidisciplinary field that includes statistics/machine learning and linguistics. We will… read more about Special Topics in Linguistics »