University of California, Berkeley


Housing the first linguistics department established in North America in 1901, UC Berkeley has a rich and distinguished tradition of rigorous linguistic documentation and theoretical innovation, thus making it an exciting and fulfilling place to carry out linguistic research. The department's original mission, from the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the Sanskrit and Dravidian scholar Murray B. Emeneau, was the recording and describing of unwritten languages, especially American Indian languages spoken in California and elsewhere in the United States. The current Department of Linguistics continues this tradition, integrating careful, scholarly documentation with cutting-edge theoretical work in phonetics, phonology, and morphology; syntax, semantics, and pragmatics; psycholinguistics; sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics; historical linguistics; typology; and cognitive linguistics.

Much of the research is potentially interdisciplinary and/or involves the careful documentation of individual languages, language families, and their histories. The department has always had a strong commitment to the study of American Indian languages, and it also has special strengths in African, Asian, and European languages. Many of the faculty and graduate students participate in the activities of the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Studies, where they interact with scholars from a number of other disciplines including Psychology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Education, etc.


The PhonLab (Phonetics/Phonology Lab) is a research and teaching laboratory within the department that focuses on documenting and explaining sound patterns in language.

The California Language Archive (1311 Dwinelle Hall) is a physical and digital archive for materials related to the Indigenous languages of the Americas, with core missions of preservation, access, and outreach. We also support the documentation, maintenance, reclamation, and revitalization of these languages. Our catalog also includes sound recordings held by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

The department has its own noncirculating library containing thousands of books, decades of journal subscriptions, and copies of (nearly) every linguistics dissertation completed at UC Berkeley as well as many dissertations from other institutions.

Undergraduate Programs

Linguistics: BA, Minor

Graduate Program

Linguistics: PhD

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Contact Information

Department of Linguistics

1203 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2757

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Department Chair

Terry Regier, PhD

1221 Dwinelle Hall

Department Manager

Susan Luong

Phone: 510-643-7623

Undergraduate Student Advisor

Martine Alexander

Phone: 510-642-2757

Graduate Student Services Advisor

Johnny Morales Arellano

Phone: 510-643-7224

Manager, California Language Archive

Zachary O'Hagan

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