Research in our department covers a broad range of topics and perspectives on language and linguistics. Much of our research can be categorized into four main concentrations: Applied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, and Theoretical Linguistics. Each of our core faculty members conducts research primarily in one of these four concentrations, and Ph.D. and M.S. students earn degrees in one of the concentrations.

Our affiliated faculty members may also be associated with concentrations. Additionally, we conduct a wide variety of research that spans concentrations or falls outside of these four main areas.

Click to expand the concentrations and learn more about the people associated with each one.


Applied Linguistics

Applied Linguistics is concerned with how second languages are learned and taught. Faculty and student interests in this concentration include: second language acquisition and pedagogy; cognitive SLA; input, interaction, and SLA; L2 assessment; L2 discourse; L2 policy; Linguistics and Reading; and bi/multilingualism, among others.

Computational Linguistics

Computational Linguistics is the scientific study of language from a computational perspective. It is a lively and intellectually vital scientific discipline, generating advances that shed new insight on models of human linguistic abilities, as well as creating opportunities for practical tools that can be of tremendous benefit to society.

Affiliated Computational Linguistics Faculty


Sociolinguistics is the study of language in social context. Faculty and student interests in this concentration include, but are not limited to: language and social interaction, language variation and change, discourse analysis, cross-cultural communication, narrative and oral history, language and identity, language and dialect contact, endangered and minority languages and dialects, language and aging, language and health care, language and business, language and education, and forensic linguistics.

Affiliated Socioinguistics Faculty

Theoretical Linguistics

Theoretical Linguistics concerns the core structural elements of language, namely phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In addition to these areas and their interfaces, faculty and students in this concentration also conduct research on language acquisition and historical linguistics.

Affiliated Theoretical Linguistics Faculty

Cross-Concentration Research (General)

Research at Georgetown is very interdisciplinary, as evidenced by the fact that faculty and students in our Department engage in a great deal of research that crosses concentrations, pushing the bounds of linguistic inquiry.

PhD Interdisciplinary Concentration in Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind and deals with the nature of perception, motor organization, memory, language, thinking, consciousness, and learning and development.  It investigates these topics from a number of methodological perspectives, including behavioral evidence for how these systems operate and formal, symbolic, and biological evidence on the computational and neural machinery that underlies them. Research on these topics comes centrally from several traditionally distinct fields:  experimental psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience. Other relevant disciplines – biology, anthropology, economics, decision sciences, and education – are also part of this burgeoning field.