Graduate student Mike Phelan demonstrates an eye-tracking experiment at COSI

The Ohio State University Department of Linguistics is one of the top programs in the country, known for its research excellence and tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration. A broad range of subdivisions include computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, and laboratory phonology. The department is known for innovative teaching programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and outreach programs for K-12 students and the community.

By the Numbers

Faculty: 16, with diverse backgrounds from core areas of linguistics as well as psychology, mathematics, languages, philosophy, sociology, and more.

Postdoc researchers: 4, working on projects in syntax and semantics, the phonetics and phonology of African languages, the cross-linguistic acquisition of phonology and the architecture of the language processing system.

Graduate students: 45

Undergraduate students:  

  • 174 majors
  • 45 minors

Degree Programs

BA degree:

  • Track A: Broad, survey-based program
  • Track B: Specialized program for those planning to go to graduate school

PhD program

The Language Pod at COSI

The Buckeye Language Network Language Pod is a research lab at COSI - Columbus, Ohio's Center of Science and Industry - dedicated to the study of language and the dissemination of knowledge about language sciences. Faculty and students conduct research and engage in informal language science education in COSI research pods as part of a larger exhibit on the life sciences, where visitors observe actual scientific research as it is occurring.

Faculty Research Spotlights

Cynthia Clopper

Representations of phonetic reduction and dialect variation in speech production and perception. This project hypothesizes that the variation due to linguistic and social factors is highly systematic, and that this systematicity can aid speech processing. In addition to contributing to our understanding of variation in human speech, the project also has the potential to inform research on language acquisition, language processing in autism spectrum disorders, and speech technology, including automatic speech recognition.

Judith Tonhauser

Collaborative research on the semantics and pragmatics of projective meaning across languages. This project carries out the first systematic empirical and theoretical analysis of the full range of projective meanings, which many expressions give rise to, in both English and Paraguayan Guarani. In addition to placing the study of projective meaning on a more sound empirical basis by disseminating the techniques to fieldworkers studying other languages, the project aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of this area of fundamental interest in linguistic semantics and the philosophy of language.

Kathryn Campbell-Kibler

Ohio Speaks: Integrating Research and Pedagogy. This project addresses how coming to Ohio State changes a student's speech, with a focus on two influences: changing identity and exposure to other language varieties. This research involves undergraduate students as research participants and research assistants, fieldworkers and fellow researchers.

The Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages

The Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages is a forum for the scholarly study of pidgins, creoles and other contact language varieties, from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Contributions explore the application of linguistic research to language planning, education and social reform, as well as studies that examine the role of contact languages in the social life, culture and literature of their communities. 

Linguistics Funds

Linguistics Discretionary Fund

enriches research, teaching and other opportunities for members of the Ohio State linguistics community. Donations to this fund are used to support visiting scholars, invite speakers, support activities that recognize excellence in teaching, research and service, host conferences and workshops.

Distinguished Linguistics Professorship Fund

provides compensation and academic support for a faculty member in the department. The fund will become endowed when it reaches $25,000.

Grants and Funding

Faculty and graduate students are supported by funding from federal and private sources including NIH, NSF, DARPA, Google, ACLS, The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and more.

Summer Linguistics Institute for Youth Scholars (SLIYS)

A weeklong summer program for high school students. SLIYS promotes language study in all aspects by cultivating a deeper appreciation of language similarities and differences.