Theoretical Linguistics investigates the form and function of language, applying theoretical approaches to the analysis of descriptive and sociolinguistic data. Contemporary theoretical linguistic investigations often make use of quantitative/computational tools, methods, and models to support and enhance qualitative scholarly interpretations of the language phenomena being studied.
Theoretical Linguistics research is currently represented in our programs in the areas of phonetics (the scientific study of speech sounds), semantics (the study of meaning in language), historical linguistics (the study of language variation and change over time), and sociolinguistics (the study of language in society). Information on current research in these areas can be obtained from the following program members:
- Phonetics: Mingzhen Bao, Brenna Byrd
- Semantics: Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby
- Historical Linguistics: Mark Richard Lauersdorf, Brenna Byrd
- Sociolinguistics: Mark Richard Lauersdorf
Research facilities that support work in these areas include an acoustic phonetics lab, the Tech Atelier digital development studio, and the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities (RCH).