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Linguistic Anthropology at UCSD

Program Description

The Department of Anthropology at UCSD, drawing in part on coordinated resources in other departments, offers growing opportunities for graduate training and research in Linguistic anthropology.

The field of linguistic anthropology has traditionally addressed a broad range of topics, from the relation of language and cognition, through the linguistic organization of social difference, to interlinguistics and to the politics of performance and representation. At UCSD, we provide opportunity for graduate work in all of these areas. Although not a distinct degree in the department, linguistic anthropology can be a focus of study within the socio-cultural anthropology track. UCSD provides an unusual opportunity to explore linkages between linguistic and psychological anthropology.

Language practices are a topic of central concern in anthropology because they mediate human existence in a social world. Language enables humans to construe their environment, construct self, society, and social bonds, constitute authority, and legitimate power. Anthropology approaches language as a cultural system, speaking and literacy as social practices, and speakers as social actors. Linguistic forms are of interest to anthropologists because of their contribution to social action and social meaning.

Linguistic anthropologists at UCSD share a particular focus on the ways that speakers and societies use language to mark and manage social boundaries (ethnic, national, gender, class). We offer a strong concentration on the relationship of language to ethnicity in multilingual societies, particularly in the Spanish-speaking world from Spain to Latin America to the U.S. We also emphasize the study of linguistic ideologies, that is, morally and politically loaded cultural conceptions of language and social life. We encourage ethnographic research on the way that such ideologies mediate the relations between linguistic and social structure, and between social structure and individual agency.

  • For information regarding laboratories please see the Special Facilities page.
  • For more information regarding the graduate program please see Program Requirements page.
  • The Departments of CommunicationEthnic StudiesLinguistics, and Cognitive Science are among other resources for anthropology students pursuing this topic of study. Inquiries about graduate training in the linguistic anthropology at UCSD can be directed to John B. Haviland or Kathryn Woolard.
  • For undergraduate students, Linguistic Anthropology falls under the Sociocultural Anthropology program.  Program requirements can be found on the Undergraduate Studies page.