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College of Liberal Arts


The Linguistics program introduces the student to linguistics, the scientific understanding of language as the essential human tool with an ambitious goal of gaining insight into the way the mind works. The central core of the program consists of a small number of courses that deal systematically with various levels of linguistic structure — sound, sign, word, sentence and meaning. The desired learning outcomes are critical thinking, problem-solving ability, analytical creativity, excellent communication and professional and personal ethics.

The undergraduate major consists of a total of 33 credits. There are four courses in the core (LING 20100, 31100, 31500 and 32100). Beyond the core, those majoring in Linguistics will take two courses in the linguistics of a specific language, two courses in a less-commonly taught language and a three-course elective component.

Students working for a minor in Linguistics will take one elective course beyond the core. The 50000-level courses that follow are available to undergraduate or graduate students, and they may be substituted for the undergraduate course in a specific area of linguistics.

The Linguistics program encourages students to become directly involved in faculty research, to get hands-on experience in the research process and to take courses from among Purdue's excellent offerings that provide skills, knowledge and experience to distinguish them from the crowd when interviewing for a job. Opportunities with Linguistics faculty exist in the areas of endangered languages, sign-language linguistics, baby's acquisition of language, second-language acquisition in adults, language disorders, neurolinguistics, computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, English as a second language, second-language writing and language-teaching technology (among others).

Suggested Arrangement of Courses

Freshman Year

First SemesterSecond Semester
(3) COM 11400 (Fundamentals of Speech Communication)* (3) LING 20100 (Introduction to Linguistics), Individual and Society*
(4) ENGL 10600 (First-Year Composition) or 
(3) ENGL 10800 (Accelerated First-Year Composition)*
(3) Mathematics and Statistics*
(3) Mathematics and Statistics* (3) Western Heritage*
(3) Other Languages (Level IV)*, Note A (3) Free elective/Minor I, Note B
(3) Core requirement* (3) Elective
(15-16) (15)

Sophomore Year

Third SemesterFourth Semester
(3) Aesthetic Awareness* (3) LING 31100 (Fundamentals of Phonology and Morphology)
(3) Natural Sciences* (3) LING 31500 (Elements of Phonetics)
(3) Requirement, Note C (3) Natural Sciences*
(3) Free elective/Minor II, Note B (3) United States Tradition*
(3) Elective (3) Free elective/Minor III, Note B
    (3) Elective
(15)   (18)  

Junior Year

Fifth SemesterSixth Semester
(3) LING 32100 (Foundations of Syntax and Semantics) (3) Less-commonly-taught language, Note D
(3) Less-commonly-taught language, Note D (3) Linguistics of particular language, Note E
(3) Linguistics of particular language, Note E (3) Other Cultures*
(3) Gender Issues* (3) Social Ethics*
(3) Global Perspective* (3) Elective
(3) Free elective/Minor IV, Note B    
(18)   (15)  

Senior Year

Seventh SemesterEighth Semester
(3) Racial and Ethnic Diversity* (3) Requirement, Note C
(3) Requirement, Note C (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(15)   (15)  


Linguistics Notes

* See "Core."

  1. Some students may need to begin language courses at a lower level. Admission by passing a prerequisite course or placement exam, or by other means acceptable to the department.
  2. Although minors are not required, they are strongly encouraged. See academic advisor for approved minors.
  3. Nine credits from three courses chosen from any course(s) with the designator LING (except LING 20100, 31100, 31500, 32100, 50000) or certain other courses. See academic advisor for appropriate courses.
  4. Less commonly taught language: Select two courses from 10100, 10200, 20100, 20200, or any one of the following languages or in another less commonly-taught language that may be offered from time to time (FLL): Arabic (ARAB), American Sign Language (ASL); Chinese (CHNS); Greek (GREK), Hebrew (HEBR), Japanese (JPNS), Latin (LATN) or Russian (RUSS).
  5. Linguistics of a particular language: Select a two-course sequence of 36100 and 36200 — or 56100 and 56200 — from French (FR), German (GER), Japanese (JPNS), Russian (RUSS) or Spanish (SPAN).