The “OK Boomer” Saga
What It’s Like to Co-op in the Heart of Mongolia
Join the Linguistics Club

Worlds within Words

Your mind is born into an empty room. The ceiling, floor, and wall are undefined, without doors, edges, or hue. Everything here is everything there is, and the concept of you isn’t even a concept yet. 

But it doesn’t stay that way for long. In fact, from the moment you hear your first words, everything starts to change. The room shifts, the walls and ceiling expand, and color begins to bloom.

A lifetime’s worth of sensation, emotion, and thought will pass through this private vantage, and through it all, language will serve as each moment’s translator. It will wrap itself around every social, physical, and metaphysical construct to deliver scale, quality, nuance, and meaning. It is the vehicle the helps us navigate our external and internal experience of the world.

Studying linguistics at the College of Science puts the toolbox in your hands — to understand, interact with, and shape the room however you see fit. And if you feel so inclined, to also build a doorway so that others may share the space.

Degree Options

Coursework and Requirements
A sampling of the types of courses you could take here.
English Now and Then
LING 1449

Introduces the linguistic study of the English language from current and historical perspectives. Topics include the Latin and Greek etymology of English words; the linguistics of modern English dialects; English as a global language; and the origins of English as a Germanic language, closely related to German and Dutch.

Language and Culture
LING 3412

Explores the complex, often inexplicit relationship between language and culture, using a variety of methods drawn from the fields of anthropological linguistics and sociolinguistics. Questions may include: How do language and thought interact? How is language used to create and maintain social institutions and individual personae? How is language used differently by and across gender, ethnicity, and social class?

Language and Gender
LING 3456

Investigates the relationship between language and gender. Topics include how men and women talk; the significant differences and similarities in how they talk, why men and women talk in these ways, and social biases in the structure of language itself.

Learning at the Source

Northeastern’s co-operative education provides linguistics students the opportunity to get out of the classroom and immerse themselves in real-world contexts. From marketing and journalism to law and special education, there’s a wide range of career options for students to pursue, while exploring their own special interests. Students will also have the opportunity to study abroad, where every experience becomes a first-hand lesson in local language and culture.

Faculty Research

Sentence Processing Laboratory
The Sentence Processing Laboratory investigates how people produce and comprehend language, focusing on mental representations and processes related to dealing with sentences.
Linguistics and Law Lab
The Linguistics & Law Lab is working at the border between law and linguistics to improve justice through linguistic research.
The Minds Behind COS Linguistics
Faculty Spotlight
Heather Littlefield
Heather Littlefield earned her MA and PhD in Applied Linguistics at Boston University, with special interest in first language acquisition of prepositions and the syntactic properties of lexical and functional categories. She is currently Teaching Professor, Head Advisor, and Assistant Director of the Linguistics Program at Northeastern University.
Adam Cooper
As an associate teaching professor of linguistics, his teaching and research focuses on the sound systems of languages, as well as how languages change over time. Check out his thoughts on the recent “OK Boomer” phenomenon.
Janet Randall
Her research and publications span areas in theoretical linguistics (the syntax/semantics interface, argument structure), language acquisition (the acquisition of verbs; argument structure; morphology); psycholinguistics; linguistics and law, and linguistics in the schools.
Neal Pearlmutter
Prof. Pearlmutter is interested in sentence comprehension and sentence generation processes, including ambiguity resolution; the use of grammatical constraints; and the interaction and timing of use of constraints derived from working memory, real-world knowledge, grammatical knowledge, and frequency information.

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