Linguistics at UMW


  • Associate Professor Paul D. Fallon, Ph.D. Ohio State University (phonology, morphology, historical linguistics, writing systems)
  • Associate Professor Janie Lee, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara (sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, linguistic anthropology, race and ethnicity)


The Linguistics program supports a Special Major, a minor, English major requirements and electives  (all 300- and 400-level linguistics courses go towards the elective requirement in the English major), and more.

Students may may also fulfill different general education requirements by taking different linguistics courses.

Linguistic courses

For descriptions of linguistics courses, see the University undergraduate academic catalog.

LING 470: Seminar in Linguistics (3) has had such past topics as:

  • Language, Gender, and Sexual Assault
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Endangered Languages
  • Sociolinguistic Field Methods
  • Words in Society and Mind
  • Accents of English
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Language and Conflict
  • Language and Identity
  • Language and Speech
  • Narrative and Identity
  • Narrative Development
  • Speech, Narrative, and Emotion


The ENLI Department has a 3-laboratory suite: a speech-recording lab, observation/control room, and a research lab for audio and video recording. Equipment includes the Kay Elemetrics Computerized Speech Laboratory (CSL 4400) hardware and software system, 2 Dell computers, 1 Macintosh computer, video cameras, VCRs, DAT recorders, 5 Marantz PMD-660 solid-state digital recorders, and additional software and hardware for conducting speech processing and social interaction research. Additional laboratories also include some linguistics software.

Undergraduate Research

Students have engaged in group research on child language and sexual assault and abuse narratives. They have also undertaken individual research projects involving fieldwork and have engaged in community-service learning.

The College has a generous program for undergraduate research that has funded students’ travel to present at conferences (e.g., Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium, SECOL, National Association of Undergraduate Research, Southeastern Psychological Association, and Virginia Women’s Studies Association), and has paid for students’ attendance at linguistics conferences (e.g., Georgetown Roundtable on Languages and Linguistics), and research expenses (e.g., tape-recorders, research participants, advertising).

Special Major Simon Stevens

Special Major Simon Stevens analyzes the Armenian vowel shift.

Linguistics Speaker Series

This program brings to campus distinguished linguists (e.g. Frank Abate, John Baugh, Mary Bucholtz, Carole Chaski, William Frawley, Marc Okrand, Ron Scollon, Roger Shuy, Deborah Tannen, Walt Wolfram). Please click on the sidebar on the top for current information on our next speaker.

Major Accomplishments in Linguistics

                    • More than 30 students have created special majors in Linguistics in the past decade.
                    • A minor in linguistics began in Fall 2010 and there are 30 minors as of Fall 2012.
                    • More than 230 students take Linguistics 101B a year.
                    • More than 180 students take a 200-, 300-, or 400- level each year, with many students taking as many as 4-5 courses in linguistics without being special majors in linguistics.
                    • Students have taken numerous individual studies and internships.
                    • Special majors in linguistics and English majors taking linguistics courses have presented at national and regional conferences.
                    • Special majors in Linguistics and English majors have entered graduate programs in such fields as Linguistics, English as a second Language, speech/language pathology, audiology, and computer science (e.g. Brown University, University of Virginia, University of Florida, George Mason University, Georgetown University, University of North Carolina/Greensboro, University of Texas/Austin, University of Texas/Dallas).