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Brooklyn College Linguistics Program
Linguistics Home Page

B.A. Program in Linguistics

Prof. Jon Nissenbaum (Director)


    Office: 1209 Ingersoll

    Advising hours: Thurs 10 am-noon (or email for an appointment)



About the field of linguistics:

For detailed information about the field of linguistics and about the opportunities which a linguistics degree confers, click on "WHY LINGUISTICS?" in the left column.


About the Linguistics Program at Brooklyn College:

To meet some of our linguistics students or to find out about some of our program activities, click on "Program Notes" in the left column.


Program Description

The Linguistics Program, which draws its faculty from several language related departments at our beautiful campus in Brooklyn, New York, offers students training in understanding and analyzing language and covers the full scope of the field of linguistics through an interdisciplinary approach. We offer students a bachelor of arts degree with a major and a minor in linguistics. In addition, students who choose to double-major with linguistics as their second major may be able to apply up to three courses from their first major towards the linguistics requirements. For further details concerning these options, click on "Degree Requirements" in the left column.

We seek first to give our students a solid undergraduate grounding in contemporary linguistics, beginning with an overall understanding of the nature and structure of language, and then moving on to the core areas - phonology (the sounds of language), morphology (the structure of words), syntax (the structure of phrases and sentences), and semantics (the structure of meaning). We seek to give our students an appreciation for language as a defining human characteristic, one that not only distinguishes people from other creatures, but also binds people together in communities and social networks. We offer courses which investigate how language is structured, how it is acquired throughout childhood, how it functions in communication, how it is processed in the human brain, how it can be processed by computers, how it changes over time, and how it functions in society. The program also seeks to strengthen students' awareness and understanding of the wide range of the field of linguistics and the many key areas directly related to it, including but not limited to, first and second language acquisition, cognitive science, the philosophy of language, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language typology, the study of pidgins and creoles, and natural language processing. In keeping with its location in the English Department, the Program also seeks to foster an appreciation of the close relationship between language and literature, including the many ways in which linguistics has informed the field of literary criticism. The Program thus seeks not only to lay out the conceptual tools and the information base in linguistics, but also to show how this knowledge has been applied in these other disciplines.

Thus, the program prepares our students for graduate studies, and for a variety of careers, in fields such as:
- education (e.g., teaching, curriculum development, assessment in language arts and second language learning at all levels)
- translating and interpreting
- computational fields related to language and speech technology
- international business fields
- specific areas of legal practice (e.g., Immigration Law; International Business)
- publishing: writing, editing, lexicography
- Foreign Service and other internationally oriented government careers.