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Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics


Welcome to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

The Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics was created on 1 August 2011 by merging the former Department of Linguistics and the Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics. The Department is part of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages.

The Department pursues an interdisciplinary approach to theoretical and applied linguistics and avoids uncritical adherence to particular views and theories. Building on the strengths of the previous institutions, the new department covers a comprehensive range of the language sciences and offers excellent theoretical and empirical research in a broad spread of fields from historical linguistics and comparative syntax to language processing and computational linguistics. The aims of the Department are:

  • to achieve excellence across a broad spectrum of linguistic research
  • to provide high quality teaching informed by current research
  • to foster a broad and integrated approach to the study of linguistics

The Department's staff includes many internationally known experts in their respective fields. Courses are offered both at undergraduate and MPhil levels, and the breadth of the Department is also reflected in PhD research. Linguistics in Cambridge routinely tops national university league tables.

Boundaries between subdisciplines of linguistics are highly permeable within and beyond the Department as reflected in the Department's Research Clusters and research projects, but also in collaborations of the Department's staff with members of other institutions within the University and in the fact that many linguists work in other Departments, Faculties and even Schools of the University. The Cambridge Language Sciences Initiative, an initiative by the University of Cambridge to make Language Sciences a strategic priority for institutional support, aims to bring all those researchers concerned with research into various aspects of the language sciences together. The Department is centrally embedded in the Initiative as it has the largest concentration of Linguists in one institution.

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Latest News

Professor Jay Atlas workshop: Atlas-Kempson-Levinson-Horn: A historical perspective on radical pragmatics

23 November 2016

Professor Jay Atlas, known as one of the founders of 'radical pragmatics' in the 1970s/1980s, although better known now as a post-Gricean movement within 'contextualism', has agreed to come all the way from Texas and give a seminar entitled: Atlas-Kempson-Levinson-Horn: A historical perspective on radical pragmatics The...

Morphosyntactic Variation in Adpositions - Workshop at Queens' College, May 2017

22 November 2016

The workshop "Morphosyntactic Variation in Adpositions" will take place at Queens' College, Cambridge, on 8–9 May 2017 . Abstracts are welcome for submission on any topic related to the morphosyntactic variation, either synchronic or diachronic, in prepositions, postpositions, and adpositional prefixes and particles, from...

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Ianthi Tsimpli, Chair of English and Applied Linguistics

1 October 2016

Professor Ianthi Tsimpli, Chair of English and Applied Linguistics and Professorial Fellow, Fitzwilliam College is to give her inaugural lecture on Tuesday 22 November. The talk titled 'A Feast of languages: Multilingualism in neuro-typical and atypical populations' , will take place in the Auditorium of Fitzwilliam...