Language & Cognition

A graph displaying the relationship between reaction time to a word and the word's frequencyAt UCSB the cognitive foundations of language structure and use is an important theme of research and teaching. Constraints on human cognition are seen as a major source of explanation for the organization of grammars, as well as for the systematic patterns of usage found in everyday discourse. Faculty research in discourse-functional linguistics, grammaticization, language acquisition, and corpus linguistics emphasizes the cognitive bases of speakers' preferences for particular patterns of argument structure, for the distribution of referential forms in discourse, for processes of word formation and for lexical selection. The fundamental relationship between cognitive processes and social interaction motivates our focus on the sociocognitive forces underlying language use, language change, and language acquisition. Language acquisition is seen is part of the larger process of language socialization, which shapes children's understanding of social relations and their own identity in culture-specific ways.

Core Faculty

 Laurel BrehmStefan Th. Gries


Linguistics 201: Research Methodology and Statistics in Linguistics
Linguistics 202: Advanced Research Methods and Statistics
Linguistics 204: Statistical Methodology
Linguistics 218: Corpus Linguistics
Linguistics 225: Semantics and Pragmatics
Linguistics 226: Cognitive Foundations of Language
Linguistics 237: Introduction to First Language Acquisition
Linguistics 252: Seminar in Morphology and Syntax
Linguistics 253A-B: Seminar in Semantics and Pragmatics
Linguistics 257A-B: Seminar in Psycholinguistics
Linguistics 265: Acquisition of Grammar
Linguistics 266: Acquisition of Discourse


Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphasis in Cognitive Science 
Computation and Experiments In Linguistics (CEILing)