Explore human language in various aspects, from its internal mental structures to its everyday use in social life.
The linguistics major/minor allows students to study the mental structures of language (phonology, syntax, semantics) and how people use language in everyday life to organize their social worlds. In doing this, our major provides training in qualitative and quantitative data analysis, writing and argumentation, and a variety of methods for rigorous investigation.
Students participate in research both inside and outside classes, including documentation and analysis of understudied and endangered languages, computational analysis of large data sets, and investigation of the social impacts of language use.
What You'll Study
- How language is used to construct identities and connect to social groups
- Interview-based, observational, experimental, and computational research methods
- The mental structures of language
- The relationship between language and cognition
Researching at Pomona
Documenting Under-Studied Languages
Madeline Claire Bossi ’17 is publishing a paper she wrote on the language Kipsigis, spoken in western Kenya by 1.9 million people.
Ernesto Gutierrez ’17 helped a UC Berkeley linguistics expert launch a multi-year linguistics project to collect data on Spanish spoken in the Bay Area.
Sociolinguistics studies the attitudes we have towards different languages and how those attitudes affect or shape the opinion we have towards the communities who speak those languages. My goal is to teach Spanish linguistics as a professor and teach other people these things I have learned: the way we speak this language, how that has consequences at many levels, social, political, the educational level.
Faculty & Teaching
Our students graduate with a deep understanding of the mental structures of language and the role of language in the human experience. Students’ learning experiences range from hands-on research, to theoretical questions about cognition, to investigation of language patterns in everyday life. Faculty and students together engage in high-level research that is presented at prestigious conferences and published in top journals.