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Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago offers an integrated program of study in syntax, semantics and pragmatics, designed around the following fundamental question: what are the principles governing language form, interpretation and use, and how do these systems interact with each other? A central research and pedagogical focus of the program is the nature of linguistic variation: why do languages differ in the ways that they do, and what can we learn about the underlying architecture of the human linguistic system from a study of their similarities and differences?

The Department of Linguistics is the center of work on syntactic, semantic and pragmatic theory at the University, but it is embedded within a larger intellectual community that provides a rich array of resources for the study of structure and meaning in language. The University offers an extensive selection of language courses each academic year, giving graduate students in linguistics the opportunity deepen their understanding of particular languages and language families. In addition, active research programs in linguistic anthropology, computational linguistics, language acquisition, and the philosophy of language provide students with the opportunity to to gain a broader perspective on the study of form and meaning in language and the fundamental role of linguistic theory in this endeavor.