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Our research

Our research is cross-disciplinary and collaborative, with a focus on exploring the development, use and acquisition of linguistic systems.

Language is unique to humans and central to virtually all human activity. Studying it provides a window on the mind, on people and on society.

We adopt a pluralistic approach to the language sciences and do not privilege any single theoretical framework or methodological approach.

Ranked second in the UK for the proportion of world-leading linguistics research in the UK

(Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014)

Research strengths

Understanding the complex nature of language, be it as a means of communication and thought, as a social tool, as an expression of identity, as a multimodal phenomenon, as a window into history and the mind, and as a formal system – is best achieved by the simultaneous pursuit of multiple approaches.

Impact and engagement

Our research has a wide range of applications to health, social justice, equality, and education.



We have state-of-the-art facilities for research and for training:

University research themes

We lead collaboration across the University's research themes – areas of research excellence that cross departmental boundaries. We have strong partnerships within three themes:


We promote our research results and wider expertise through annual or cyclic events in a variety of educational channels:


Search for research and browse publications in the York Research Database.

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Research degrees

Push the boundaries of knowledge in our supportive and stimulating environment.

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News and events

Check out our latest news and departmental events.

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Visiting scholars

We welcome established academics and research students to our research community.

How to apply