Welcome!

Welcome to the Berkeley Linguistics Department! With the first linguistics department to be established in North America (in 1901), Berkeley has a rich and distinguished tradition of rigorous linguistic documentation and theoretical innovation, making it an exciting and fulfilling place to carry out linguistic research. Its original mission, due to the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the Sanskrit and Dravidian scholar Murray B. Emeneau, was the recording and describing of unwritten languages, especially American Indian languages spoken in California and elsewhere in the United States. The current Department of Linguistics continues this tradition, integrating careful, scholarly documentation with cutting-edge theoretical work in phonetics, phonology and morphology; syntax, semantics, and pragmatics; psycholinguistics; sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics; historical linguistics; typology; and cognitive linguistics.

In the Spotlight

California Language Archive

Linguistic map of California from the California Language Archive.

The California Language Archive, an online catalog and digital repository of UC Berkeley language archives, is the largest university archive of indigenous language materials in North America and is managed by students and faculty in Berkeley's Linguistics Department. As of June 2011, it catalogs the holdings of the Berkeley Language Center (over 1700 hours of sound recordings, collected from 1949-2011) and the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages (about 2500 manuscript items, including over 60,000 scanned images, collected from 1902-2011). By the end of summer 2011, several thousand wax cylinder sound recordings in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology will also be included in the CLA. All of California's indigenous languages are represented in these collection, and many other Native languages throughout the western hemisphere. The CLA provides not only a framework for student and faculty research at Berkeley, but also a context for undergraduates and graduate students to become leaders in the growing field of language documentation and archiving.

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