The fundamental goal of modern linguistics is to understand how natural languages are acquired or learned, understood, and used by speakers by discovering the nature of the uniquely human language faculty that underlies all these abilities. This pursuit lies at the heart of the research in which our faculty and students are engaged.
Our internationally-renowned Linguistics department stands at the center of work in Phonology (specifically, Optimality Theory), Syntax (specifically, Generative Grammar and the Minimalist Program), and Semantics and Pragmatics (specifically, formal theory and the interfaces). Our department also has a strong Experimental core investigating Language Acquisition, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, and Phonetics/Phonology. Many students and faculty are also actively engaged in fieldwork.
Our faculty members' interests represent the core areas of the field of Linguistics, including Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, Phonology, and Morphology. They also include theoretically-informed approaches to Computational Learning and Parsing, Language Acquisition, Language Typology, and the Philosophy and Psychology of Language. Our language specialties include Romance, Germanic, South Asian (esp. Hindi), Japanese, Niger-Congo (esp. Yoruba, Edo, Atlantic and Bantu subfamilies), Edo, Amerindian (esp. Mohawk), Hebrew, Haitian, Amazonian, Kalaallisut, and Polynesian.
We maintain close ties with the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS) and the Center for African Studies, as well as the Institute for Global Studies. Our faculty and students also enjoy frequent and productive collaborations with members of other departments with research interests in language, including Philosophy, Psychology, and Spanish & Portuguese.