About the Program

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Linguists examine the components of language—sounds, words, sentences, and meaning—as a system of rules and universals. Every normal human has internalized such a system, since, by definition, we all possess knowledge of a language. Linguists study how humans represent, use, and acquire the language(s) they speak. 

Our Program in Linguistics

Located in the English Department at George Mason University,  we provide theoretical and applied programs of study for graduate and undergraduate students. We offer a Phd. in Linguistics, a Masters in English: Linguistics, a TESOL Certificate, an undergraduate concentration in Linguistics in the English Major, and two undergraduate Minors:  A Minor in Linguistics, and a Minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Since the 1970's, we have grown with the field of linguistics. Our programs are built on a strong foundation in theoretical linguistics, and we strive to bring the knowledge of these theories to bear on the issues of how language is acquired.  That understanding helps inform the basic, applied questions of how to teach English to speakers of other languages and how to best prepare teachers of English as a second language (ESL).

The Labs

The Program is home to our five Linguistics Labs:  Computational Linguistics Lab, Language Acquisition Lab (PALM), Language Documentation Lab, Mason Phonetics and Phonology Lab, Psycholinguistics Lab. These spaces allow our faculty and students to do research in experimental and quantitative linguistics.

The Speech Accent Archive

The Linguistics Program hosts the Speech Accent Archive. This nationally and internationally acclaimed archive presents speech samples of speakers from a variety of language backgrounds. It is used by anyone interested in the phenomena of accent, including language teachers, speech therapists, actors, and laymen fascinated by accents. Students in the Linguistics Program have an opportunity to work on the archive.