Interdisciplinary Program in Linguistics


What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It studies both the structure and the use of language. Language is a universal human characteristic. All human languages share some traits, while diverging in particulars. Linguists, working within theoretical constructs, may describe both universal and specific traits of language and of languages. This knowledge may be applied to a broad spectrum of problems from bilingual education to artificial intelligence, second language learning to conflict resolution.


Areas of study

Linguistics is a broad field. The main subdisciplines listed by the LSA are: writing, grammar, linguistic diversity, language and the brain, prescriptivism, linguistics and literature, slips of the tongue, the sounds of speech, computers and language, machine translation, meaning (pragmatics and semantics), neurolinguistics, history of linguistics, language and thought, discourse analysis, language variation and change, applied linguistics, multilingualism, languages in contact, sociolinguistics, and endangered languages. We cover all these topics in our survey course: The Nature of Language. We offer specialized courses in all but three of these topics: neurolinguistics, linguistics and literature, and slips of the tongue.

Program profile

Linguistics is an interdisciplinary program in which thirteen departments participate. Participation ranges from teaching less-commonly-taught language courses to contributing to the university research program. Twelve faculty members have primary research fields within linguistics.

The undergraduate student population is a small, but active group. We currently have 13 undergraduate majors. We graduate 3- 4 students a year with BAs in linguistics. Our students are outstanding. Of our 3-4 graduates a year, we get 1-2 honors’ theses. This year we graduated four students, three with honors’ theses.   One of our students, Melissa Kronenthal, won a Watson fellowship this year.

Additional resourses

We offer a number of Uncommonly Taught Languages: Yucatec Maya(modern and classical), Kaqchikel Maya (modern and classical), Nahuatl (modern and classical), Cajun French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Hungarian, Swahili, Yoruba and Kechwa.

We have a strong library collection on Latin America, with texts in many American Indian languages as well as in Spanish and Portuguese. Our rare book collections contain untranslated texts that offer excellent resources for research. The Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Scholars offers students opportunities to get to the field for summer and more sustained study. The Cuba Institute has recently begun an initiative for scholarly interchange with, and study programs in, Cuba. Louisiana, itself, is linguistically rich and the Louisiana Collection provides access to local resource materials. The Amistad Center also offers unique collections, as does the Newcomb College Center for Research on Institute.

The major

The major consists of ten courses selected from the list below. The student should take at least one course in each of the following areas: phonology, syntax, language history, and language and thought. As courses are offered by various departments, the student must consult with the program adviser in selecting courses to fulfill the distribution requirement. As one of the ten courses, the student must take a three-credit independent studies course correlating this general background with an area of specialization. No language courses taken to fulfill the college proficiency requirement may be counted toward the major.



ANTH 315 Ethnography of Thought

ANTH 329 The Nature of Language

ANTH 331 Introduction to Historical Linguistics

ANTH 359 Introduction to Syntax

ANTH 363 Linguistic Phonetics

ANTH 364 Studies in Phonology

ANTH 365 Morphology

ANTH 366 Discourse Analysis: Pragmatics of Language Use

ANTH 367 Language and its Acquisition

ANTH 368 Language and Power

ANTH 369 Language and Gender

ANTH 640 Culture and Language

ANTH 642 Linguistics Field Methods

ANTH 670 Spoken Nahuatl

ANTH 672 Spoken Yoruba

ANTH 680 Spoken Yucatecan Maya

ANTH 681 Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs

ANTH 682 Classical Yucatec


Asian Studies

ASTJ 101, 102 Beginning Japanese I, II

ASTJ 203, 204 Intermediate Japanese I, II


Computer Science

CPSC 101 Software Design and Programming

CPSC 300 Principles of Computer Science

CPSC 350 Programming Languages Structures

CPSC 362 Theory of Computation

CPSC 466 Artificial Intelligence

CPSC 652 Computer Design



ENLS 402 Structure of English Language

ENLS 405 History of the Language

ENLS 407 Introduction to Old English



FREN 314 French Phonetics

FREN 410 French in Louisiana

FREN 607 Survey of French Linguistics

FREN 621 History of the French Language

FREN 691 Special Problems in French Linguistics


Germanic and Slavic Languages

GERM 365 Advanced Russian Grammar

GERM 607 Slavic Contributions to Linguistics



HBRW 101 Introductory Hebrew

HBRW 102 Intermediate Hebrew



LING 301 Semantics

LING H491, H492 Independent Studies

LING H499, H500 Honors Thesis



MATH 111, 112 Probability and Statistics

MATH 301 Probability and Statistics



PHIL 121 Elementary Symbolic Logic

PHIL 380 Language and Thought

PHIL 606 Advanced Symbolic Logic

PHIL 618 Mental Representation

PHIL 343 Semantics of Natural Language



PSYC 307 Thinking and Information Processing

PSYC 314 Sensory Processes and Perception

PSYC 351, 352 Special Projects in Psychology (adviser approval required)

PSYC 410 Computer Applications in the Behavioral Sciences

PSYC 615 Models of Human Behavior

PSYC 646 Verbal Processes in Human Learning



SOCI 644 Language Behavior and Communications



SPAN 601 Methods of Teaching Spanish and Portuguese

SPAN 651 History of the Spanish Language

SPAN 656 Spanish Dialectology in the New




THEA 309 Stage Speech




The faculty

coordinator: Dr. Judith Maxwell. Department of Anthropology. x3046.



Katherine Langan. PhD. Linguistics. Georgetown. x5336. Research Interests: Language Learning, Contrastive Analysis, Historical Linguistics, Translation/Interpretation, Sociolinguistics, Cross-cultural Communications, Mayan Language, Literacy Acquisition.


Judith Maxwell. PhDs Linguistics and Anthropology, Chicago. x3046. Research interests: discourse analysis, standardization, revitalization, human rights, Mayan languages, Nahuatl; primary areas of field experience: Guatemala and Mexico.

Olanike Ola-Oorie. PhD Linguistics. British Columbia. x3062. Research Interests: Theoretical Linguistics, Phonology, Morphology, African Languages.


Computer Science

Boumediene Belkhouche. PhD. Computer Science. University of Southwestern Louisiana. x5840. Research interests: Computer Science, Programming Languages, Formal Semantics, Software Engineering, Natural Language Processing.



John H. Patton. PhD. Indiana. Research Interests: rhetoric, argumentation.

Carole J. Spitzak PhD Southern Illinois. x5730. Research Interests: Cultural Criticism, Embodiment, Gender

Kathleen J. Turner. PhD. Purdue. x3038. Research Interests: Interaction analysis. Mass communications, Law and Political Communication



Michael Kuczynski. PhD. North Carolina. x8177. Research Interests: Old English, Old English and Middle English Literature, Medieval Manuscripts


Molly Rothenberg. PhD. California, Irvine. x8166.

Research Interests: Feminist Literary Theory, Cultural Criticism.



Elizabeth Poe. PhD. Princeton. x5171. Research Interests: Philology, History of the French Language, Medieval French Literature.


Thomas Klingler. PhD. Indiana. x3121. Research Interests:

Pidgins and Creoles, New World Frenches, French Linguistics


Germanic and Slavic Languages

William Brumfield. PhD Berkeley. x5276. Research Interests: Language contact, Language change, Slavic linguistics

George Cummins III. PhD. Harvard. x5276. Research Interests: Jakobsonian linguistics, Slavic linguistics.



Radu Bogdan. PhD. Philosophy. Stanford. x3380. Research Interests: Cognitive Science, Language and Thought, Mental Representation.

Graeme R. Forbes. PhD Philosophy. Oxford. The Celia Scott Weatherhead Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. x. 3385. Research Interests: Logic, Natural Language Semantics.



Chizuko Izawa. PhD. Stanford. x3329. Research Interests: Information Processing, Cognition, Learning, Memory.

Barbara Moely. PhD. Minnesota. x3322. Research Interests: Child Psychology, Learning Theory.



Fredrick Koenig. PhD. Wisconsin. x3006. Research Interests: Sound Symbolism, Rumor, Language Behavior, Behavioral Correlates of Linguistic Categorizations


Spanish and Portuguese

Harry Howard. PhD. Cornell. x. 3417. Research Interests: Semantics, Syntax, Modular theories, Kaqchikel, New and Old World Spanishes.



Paul Schierhorn. MFA. Yale. x5360. Research Interests: Stage Speech, Cultural encoding of speech.


Linguistic Circle

An informal group of scholars from Tulane, Loyola, UNO, and other area schools meets at odd intervals throughout the year to report on research, read papers, articles, and hold linguistic discussions. Students as well as faculty participate in all aspects of this local professional forum.

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