The focus of research and teaching in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University is on theoretical and experimental linguistics, with special emphasis on the understanding of language diversity and how this diversity may be related to a universal underlying linguistic competence. This common interest is developed through: (a) study of formal grammars (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics), including properties of lesser known languages; (b) acquisition of grammars (as first or second languages); (c) processing of language and speech (with particular reference to prosody); (d) representation of grammars in healthy and impaired brains (neurolinguistics); (e) variation in grammars (sociolinguistics and dialectology).
The interplay between theoretical and empirical considerations is central: research questions are informed by linguistic theory and there is a solid empirical underpinning to all work pursued in the department. The Department also has an interdisciplinary focus. It has strong ties to the Montreal Neurological Institute, and to the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM). PhD students specializing in language acquisition participate in the interdisciplinary Language Acquisition Program option.