Linguistics program

Undergrad minor

Take a scientific approach to understanding language.

We use language every day. But how does this process work? How do we understand when one word ends and another begins? Why do we pronounce "hamster" as "hampster?"

Linguists work to understand human language by asking core questions about how it functions. What do all human languages have in common? How do we acquire our native language so quickly and so effortlessly? Why does language change over time?

Even though linguists are scientists of language, language is ultimately a social tool. UWL’s Linguistics Minor bridges the social and cultural aspects of linguistics with the more structural, systematic aspects of the study. Students from a wide variety of majors from computer science to education, take linguistics to complement their field of study.

Careers with a linguistics minor?

Graduates typically follow their major field of study in finding their career path and add a linguistics minor to broaden their skills. Linguistics can be highly useful in a variety of career paths — even computer science where these professionals need to understand natural language processing. It is helpful for teachers of English, Language Arts, English as a Second Language, and any subject working with multilingual students.

What distinguishes UWL's Linguistics Minor?

Learn the scientific and societal aspects of linguistics

In UWL’s Linguistics Minor, students discover how human language works from both a scientific and societal standpoint. Students take an equal number of courses in the socio-cultural facets of language and the structural, systematic aspects of language.

Gain a diverse perspective through broad courses

Students gain a diverse perspective in linguistics as it is taught through a variety of subject areas such as English, French, Spanish, anthropology and a variety of other humanities and social sciences courses.

Build on a second language foundation

All students gain a foundation in modern language up to the 102 level to better apply linguistic concepts.

Undergraduate research opportunities

UWL offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct research in linguistics with a faculty mentor.

Small class sizes

Students will get to know their professors through the program.

Limited pre-requisites

A limited number of pre-requisites are required to take linguistics, meaning it is easier to dive into this field of study if you have interest.

Sample courses

ENG 330 History of the English Language A survey of the historical development of English language structure and usage in the Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Modern English periods. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Fall.

ENG 331 Introduction to Linguistics: Sounds and Words This course is an introduction to linguistics focused on articulatory phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Some attention is given to language acquisition and language variation at the levels of phonology, morphology, and the lexicon. During lab students practice phonetic transcription, morphological analysis, morphophonological analysis, phonological analysis, phonemic analysis, and distinctive feature analysis. Lect. 2, Lab 2. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; students cannot earn credit in both ENG 331 and TSL 340. Offered Fall.

ANT 375 Language, Power, and Inequality This course will examine how our ideas about language intersect with differences in power and social inequality in the United States. These ideas include how we think people "should" speak, who speaks the "best," and which language varieties are valued. Focusing on the role of institutions and their effects on minority language speakers, we will explore issues such as language subordination, stereotypes of US regional dialects and accents, "mixed" languages, "mock" languages, political correctness, and multilingualism. This class will also examine how our ideas about language are used to construct and reflect social boundaries, which can affect people's social and political opportunities. Offered Occasionally.