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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

Web-based platform could help machines understand language more effectively

30 March 2016

Felix Hill from the Computer Laboratory and the Language Technology Laboratory in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics has been working with Dr Anna Korhonen from DTAL as well as researchers from Université de Montréal and New York University. The researchers have designed a web-based platform which uses...

Prof Wendy Ayres-Bennet to lead major new AHRC funded project studying multilingualism

30 March 2016

A major new research project led by Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennet , with an unprecedented £4 million grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will study the benefits of multilingualism to individuals and society. Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Society is one of four projects being funded...

Dr Teresa Parodi writes on the many benefits of bilingualism

27 January 2016

Dr Teresa Parodi has written an article 'Speaking in tongues: the many benefits of bilingualism' for The Conversation . You can read the article, which has had 143,000 reads in less than two months, here .

English Dialects App tries to guess your regional accent

27 January 2016

Dr Adrian Leemann, researcher at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, has developed a free app, available on the App Store and Google Play. The app, developed in conjunction with colleagues from the universities of Zurich and Bern, asks you to choose your pronunciation of 26 different words before...