Linguistics is the scientific study of these systems, their use in communicative and other social settings, and their cognitive and neural underpinnings. The linguistics concentration at Brown gives students a background in the "core" aspects of the language system: phonetics/phonology (the study of speech sounds and their patterning), syntax (the study of combinatorics of words, phrases, and sentences), and semantics/pragmatics (the study of the meanings of words, sentences, and conversation). Beyond this, students may focus more heavily in one or more of these areas and/or explore related questions such as how children and adults learn language (language acquisition), how utterances are produced and understood in real time (psycholinguistics), or how speaking and understanding are anchored in underlying neural systems (neurolinguistics). Other areas such as historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, philosophy of language, and linguistic anthropology can also be pursued in conjunction with offerings in other departments.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Develop fluency in the core areas concerned with the structure of language (phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics)
  • Gain a sense of the intricacies of natural language systems, including a sense of the ways in which different languages can vary and the ways in which they are similar
  • Gain some understanding of topics in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, such as the acquisition, comprehension and production of language and language and the brain
  • Gain an understanding of the relation between linguistic theory and other aspects of language such as those above or language change, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, or other areas illuminated by an understanding of language structure
  • Get practice in problem solving and analyzing complex data from natural languages

Department Undergraduate Group (DUG)

Student Leaders: Maksymilian Dabkowski, Nicholas Tomlin, Sabrina Morvillo, Justin Bai

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstone Graduates Honors Graduates


Director of Undergraduate Studies/Advisor: Scott AnderBois