The field of linguistics involves the study of the patterns of sound, grammar, and meaning in languages, with the ultimate goal of explaining why those patterns take the form that they do. An important part of linguistics is to explain phenomena which are found in many or even all languages, but the ultimate goal is to understand the principles by which all linguistic structure arises.
The Department of Linguistics at Oregon is committed to the empirical study of linguistic structure, through experimental research, description of undocumented languages, analysis of variation within and across languages, and reconstruction of the history and development of languages of the world. Ph.D. dissertation research at Oregon typically engages with language documentation (usually describing undocumented languages), experimental research (including laboratory phonology, discourse studies, gesture, and semantics), sociolinguistics (investigating language variation and change in light of the social contexts of language use), and second language acquisition and teaching.
The Department also offers a 15-month MA in Language Teaching Studies (LTS). This is a terminal degree for teachers of English (equivalent to a MATESOL) and/or teachers of other languages.