Linguistics at UNC

We study how languages work and seek to find the logic behind language. We offer B.A.s and M.A.s in Linguistics, with emphasis on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, and historical linguistics.

Faculty News

Jennifer Smith teaches intensive course on phonology at Kyushu University

Dr. Smith was invited to teach a week-long intensive phonology course at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, during summer 2015. The course, “Fundamental concepts and current challenges in constraint-based phonology,” gave undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience with phonological analysis in the Optimality Theory framework. Students learned to reconsider the foundational questions of phonology from a constraint-based perspective.

Misha Becker and Ben Frey receive grant from Endangered Language Fund

Dr. Frey (UNC American Studies) and Dr. Becker received a grant from the Endangered Language Fund for a project on Cherokee language revitalization. The project involves a 3-day workshop for teachers from the New Kituwah Academy, one of only two Cherokee language immersion schools in the country, and the only one in North Carolina. Dr. Becker and Dr. Frey will also travel to the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, to work with teachers, parents, and community elders, to help promote Cherokee language use.

Graduate Student News

Hicks receives PhD in Linguistics

Caleb Hicks successfully defended his dissertation “Condition bias in split-alignment systems: A typological study of North American languages” on Tuesday, May 26th. (Dr. David Mora-Marin, faculty advisor)

Moeng receives NSF Dissertation Improvement grant

PhD student Emily Moeng received a dissertation improvement grant from NSF to complete her project entitled “The Acquisition of Phoneme Categories” (Dr. Elliott Moreton, faculty advisor).

Recent Publications

Collaborative Publication on African American English


Dr. J. Michael Terry, in collaboration with Dr. Randy Hendrick, Dr. Richard Smith (UNC Department of Statistics Operations and Research) and Dr. Evangelos Evangelou (University of Bath, Department of Mathematical Sciences), has published a chapter entitled “Dialect Switching and Mathematical Reasoning Tests: Implications for Early Educational Achievement” in the Oxford Handbook of African American Language.


Misha Becker publishes research monograph on Syntactic Acquisition

AcquisitionofSyntacticStructureIn April 2014, Professor Misha Becker published a new research monograph, The Acquisition of Syntactic Structure: Animacy and Thematic Alignment (Cambridge University Press).




Other News

Samelia McIver wins Star Heels Award

The department manager for Linguistics, Ms. Samelia McIver, has won a Star Heels Award for the academic year 2014-15. Congratulations, Samelia!

Linguistics Outreach Group participates in Science Expo

The Linguistics Outreach Group (LOG), a group of graduate students, ungraduates and faculty in linguistics, participated in UNC’s annual Science Expo. Visitors to our booth experienced palatography, learned to write their names in Mayan hieroglyphs, and learned about regional accents. For more information about the group’s activities please see the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LOGatUNC?fref=ts

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