Students may choose from one of two tracks:
- Functional linguistics
- Generative linguistics
Students in both tracks study a common core of introductory courses and a range of electives.
The program of studies includes the detailed study of diverse languages and of different theories and research methods that highlight structural, comparative, historical, discursive, and interactional aspects of language research. The program includes the following subfields:
- Synchronic linguistics: the study of the structure of languages with respect to different levels of analysis
- Comparative linguistics: the study of common properties of languages and the classification of languages into families
- Typological linguistics: the study of language universals and linguistic diversity
- Historical linguistics: the study of language change over time
- Sociolinguistics: the study of the correlations/relationships between language use and social structure
- Interactional linguistics: the study of language use in different discursive contexts
The study of language within the generative track is based on the premise that there are core architectural properties of mental representations underlying the ability to produce and understand language that can be studied independent of the social and communicative purposes of language, though interacting with it in various ways.
Our program of study familiarizes the students with the core domains of language study (words and sentences, meaning and sound) and with the outstanding questions in contemporary linguistics pertaining to language and cognition:
- What are the internal mental representations assumed to underlie our ability to produce and understand language?
- What is universal in human language?
- What is the place of language within other human cognitive abilities?
- In what dimensions do languages vary one from another?
- What features of language are subject to linguistic change and how do languages change?
Students learn how to formulate precise hypotheses about diverse linguistic phenomena and to test them against data from languages of the world. The methodology is based on traditional modes of linguistic analysis and data collection, including corpus word, comparative and historical linguistics, as well as methods from other fields of study such as computer science, philosophy and psychology.
Studying in the linguistics department combines naturally with the following programs of study:
Cognition, Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Communication, Sociology and the literary-cultural departments of the Humanities, for instance: Hebrew, English, Latin-America studies, Romance studies, German studies, Russian studies, Asian studies, Classical Studies, Comparative and General literature.
Of course, other combinations are possible and worthwhile!