About studies in Linguistics

Overview

The linguistics programs at our department aim to train students in contemporary modern linguistics, with an emphasis on understanding the nature of human language as a central component of the human cognitive ability. At all levels of studies (BA, MA and PhD) we offer courses both in theoretical topics (such as semantics, syntax, phonology and morphology) and in experimental and applied fields of linguistics (such as psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, language disorders etc). Furthermore, we encourage students to integrate their knowledge of these different fields in their work (seminar papers, MA and PhD theses).

English, Linguistics, or English Linguistics?

Our department was once called "The English Department"; this name was changed to "Department of English Literature and Linguistics" in order to emphasize what are (and what are not) the main fields of study and research in the department. In the linguistics division, we study human language -- any human language, not just English. What this means is that our courses and research deal with the structure and use of language in a way that should be relevant and useful for the analysis of any language that you happen to be interested in: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Amharic or any other language. We do not offer courses that focus specifically on English: we do not teach English grammar, history of the English language, EFL (English as a Foreign Language), etc.

Nevertheless, many of our students are, or plan to become, English teachers. We believe that studying the tools and insights that modern linguistics offers is an excellent preparation for becoming a (better) language teacher, regardless of which language you intend to teach. Linguistics provides us with the tools for seeing and analyzing the patterns that we find in a language, and a language teacher with a background in linguistics can actually understand why the language has many of the properties that are often taught as arbitrary lists of facts that have to be memorized. Students who wish to become teachers may also register for the teacher training program in the school of education; this is a separate program that is not part of your studies in our department.

Finally, even though we do not teach English, we do teach and work in English: courses, seminars, exams, reading, and writing papers are all done in English. This offers our student an opportunity to improve their English skills by actually using them. Furthermore, this makes it possible for students whose native language is not Hebrew to study in our department without need for any special arrangements.

Linguistics and other fields

Language is central to a wide variety of processes and activities that involve almost every aspect of our life, and people often develop an interest in linguistics after studying or working in a different field. Our MA and PhD programs are designed to allow students whose BA was not in linguistics to join us without having to do a full linguistics BA. More information about admission requirements is available on the MA and PhD pages.