The study of linguistics at ANU draws upon the expertise of the largest concentration of linguists in the southern hemisphere, and of people teaching the largest number of languages in Australia.
ANU has strengths in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics and Forensic linguistics, and offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in these areas. In this, we examine the nature of human language from a scientific point of view: how we use language to communicate; the scope of differences and similarities in languages across the world; how languages vary and change over time and what factors impact that; how meanings are expressed and can be described; how children and adults acquire language; communication differences across cultures, and much more. Applied Linguistics approaches these questions with a focus on language as a cognitive and social phenomenon, working in contexts such as language teaching, healthcare communication, historical linguistics and the maintenance and revival of Indigenous languages, and their place in education systems. In Forensic Linguistics, linguistic skills are applied to assist criminal investigations and to contribute to solving legal cases.
ANU also has great strengths in language description, with more than forty years of research in descriptive and comparative study of the languages of Australia, the Pacific, Papua New Guinea, South-East Asia, China and Japan.
We are home to several leading research centres.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages builds on ANU’s traditional strength in language description, and its emerging strength in sociolinguistics, as well as on cross-disciplinary work with anthropologists, philosophers, biologists and psychologists.
The Institute for Communication in Health Care works to translate cutting edge communication research into best practice and training for safe and compassionate healthcare.
The Australian National Dictionary Centre (jointly funded by The Australian National University and Oxford University Press Australia), which conducts research into Australian English, and provides Oxford University Press with editorial expertise for their Australian dictionaries