Linguistics Minor

West Chester University

Program Coordinator:
Eirini Panagiotidou
English Department
Main Hall 523
Phone: 610-436-2822

Mission Statement

The Linguistics Minor at West Chester University is an interdisciplinary program that strives to create a learning environment for students wishing to gain insight into the properties and function of human language as a basic element of human behavior. Learn more

What is the Linguistics Minor?

When you choose to minor in linguistics, you're choosing a minor that gives you insight into one of the most intriguing aspects of human knowledge and behavior... Learn more

Why minor in linguistics?

The Linguistics Minor is a smart choice if you enjoy languages and / or you are intrigued about how human beings use language to communicate. Our courses allow you to explore a wide range of exciting issues, ranging from why and how children learn to speak a language... Learn more

How long will it take me to complete the Linguistics Minor?

Like any other minor at West Chester University, a Linguistics Minor is comprised of 18 credits (6 courses), divided into required courses and elective courses. Keep in mind that it may possible to apply several of the courses that are required in your major (either as requirements or electives) to your Linguistics Minor. Learn more

Language discrimination in the United States


The United States is a linguistically diverse country. English is spoken with a variety of accents - different people sound different, based not only on their geographical origin, but also on their social class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or level of formal education. Oftentimes, native speakers also hear an accent in the English spoken by those whose first language is not English. And about 20% of the US population speaks a language other than English at home (2005 US Census Bureau data)... Read more

Español en los Estados Unidos


In 2008, there were an estimated 52 million people in the United States who spoke a language other than English at home (UC Census Bureau data). Of these, about 32 million spoke Spanish, although the actual number is probably higher. Among a variety of Spanish dialects that are represented in our country, Mexican Spanish is the most prominent one, since about 2/3 of Spanish-speaking immigrants to the United States come from Mexico... Read more

Language acquisition


Linguists often say that a first language is not learned, but acquired. Contrary to what used to be believed, we don't learn languages by listening to our parents, remembering words and then repeating what we hear. And despite what many parents believe, insisting that young children don't make 'mistakes' when they talk and calling them out when they do is less effective than they assume... Read more

The sounds of language


Languages across the world differ enormously in the combinations of sounds that they use. For instance, some languages have only a few contrastive sounds or phonemes, whereas others have a much larger number. Polynesian languages are known for having very small sets of phonemes. For instance, Tahitian or Maori only have 5 vowels and 9 consonants each ... Read more

Too old to learn a language?


Well, it depends on what you mean by 'to learn'. Adults often find it hard to learn a second language, which contrasts with the fact that children seem to acquire their first language (or several languages, if they grow up in a multilingual environment) effortlessly and in only a few years. Consequently, linguists often talk of a 'critical period' in language acquisition, which corresponds roughly with one's childhood ... Read more

How many languages are there in the world?


This question is harder to answer than it seems. And not just because there are a lot (about 6,900 according to The Ethnologue), but especially because it is difficult to define exactly when we have two different languages instead of, say, two varieties of the same language. Everybody would probably agree that what is spoken by most people in West Chester and what is spoken by most people ... Read more