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 is a research and teaching laboratory within the department. Research focuses on documenting and explaining sound patterns in language.

The Survey of California and Other Indian Languages is a research center within the department supporting the documentation, study, and revitalization of the indigenous languages of California and the Americas. The center maintains a major archive of field notes and other documentary materials, accessible in 1311 Dwinelle Hall and cataloged in the California Language Archive (CLA); some material is digitized and available online. The center also curates the collection of linguistic field recordings from the Berkeley Language Center, many of which can be listened to on the CLA website.

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

Visit Department Website



Contact Information

Department of Linguistics

1203 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2757

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Terry Regier, PhD

1221 Dwinelle Hall

Undergraduate Adviser

Martine Alexander

Phone: 510-642-2757

Graduate Student Services Adviser

Belén Flores

Phone: 510-643-7224

Back to Top