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.

  • Professor Michael Diercks doing research in Kenya
    Professor Michael Diercks doing research in Kenya

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
Linguistics majors in the Class of 2017

Researching at Pomona

  • Le Grand Project
    The Awkwardness Project

    Kaya LeGrand ‘15 worked with Professor Mike Diercks on a project studying the linguistic triggers of social awkwardness.

  • Mountjoy Venning
    Field Methods in Linguistics

    During two semesters in the Field Methods class, Cliff Mountjoy-Venning ’16 investigated the grammar of Llogoori through elicitation sessions with a native speaker.

Venning Mountjoy
Cliff Mountjoy-Venning ‘16

Studying linguistics at Pomona has taught me how to write a convincing argument, look critically at readings and analyze data effectively. The small size of the department has let me get to know my professors, bond with my fellow students, and be part of real research.

Faculty & Teaching

Professor Michael Diercks

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.