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About the Department

The discipline of linguistics focuses on the nature of human language and how its many systems can be accounted for. Originating in 1967, the Department of Linguistics offers courses in core theoretical areas of linguistics, in addition to areas which intersect with related disciplines (e.g. sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics).


The department is part of an energetic academic community which includes numerous linguistic colleagues throughout the university itself and in neighbouring universities.

Fields of Study

The core areas of research and teaching in the department, as approved by the Ontario College of Graduate Schools, are Theoretical Linguistics (generative grammar: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics), Language Variation (sociolinguistics, dialectology, language variation, language change), and Psycholinguistics (comprehension and production, language acquisition, both in relation to linguistic theory). Additional research areas may be found in faculty profiles.


MA and PhD degrees are offered.

Faculty/Student Ratio

The department has 11 regular faculty members (10 full-time and one part-time) on the St. George campus who are also members of Graduate Faculty, and who therefore may teach graduate courses and supervise graduate research. In addition, there are two graduate faculty members with 40% appointments in Linguistics and 60% appointments in Spanish & Portuguese, 4 graduate faculty members from the linguistics program at UTSC, and other graduate faculty members from other departments, as listed at the beginning of our graduate calendar entry. There are 32 students in the funded cohort (M.A. year 1 and PhD years 1-4), as well as 10 to 15 students each year outside the funded cohort (PhD5 and beyond) and working on their dissertations.


The department is housed in Sidney Smith Hall. Robarts Library is two buildings north and has an excellent linguistics collection and material on many languages. Housed within the department are a lounge, a student reading room, and laboratories for Sociolinguistics and Variation, Phonetics, Psycholinguistics and Theoretical Linguistics. In addition, the Linguistics Graduate Course Union has a small but comprehensive library for the use of department members. Computers are available for student use. Laser printing and photocopying facilities are also available for a small fee. The department has a variety of computer hardware and software for research and teaching. The use of these facilities is limited to graduate students and to undergraduates enrolled in certain upper-level courses who have the permission of the Chair.