About the Minor

Language is often taken for granted in daily usage, but the minute one begins to consider how to acquire and use language, its complex properties become evident. Students of linguistics at Hamilton examine how we acquire and use language, with all its complex properties, as they investigate the characteristics of language and the mind, and language and society. Many find opportunities to spend a summer conducting research with a faculty member. 

A Sampling of Courses

Professor Masaaki Kamiya teaches his Linguistics class

Communication and Culture

In this course, we will examine the role that communicative processes play in shaping common conceptions of the world and in facilitating forms of social organization through which people experience everyday life. This course offers an introduction to the foundational relationship between language and culture by examining anthropological approaches to the study of language. In this course, you will learn how language both reflects and creates thought, culture, and power relations. You will also learn how to apply the concepts we study to your own everyday experiences with language.

Explore these select courses:

Examines interface phenomena between pragmatics and language acquisition. Students will learn theoretical issues of semantics/pragmatics and the theory of the first language acquisition. Target languages to examine various phenomena are Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English.

This course explores the relationship between word formation and sentence formation by examining English and Japanese grammar (and, to a certain degree, that of other languages). Ultimately, both morphology and syntax play important roles in the interpretation of sentences. No previous linguistics background or Japanese language background is necessary.

Examines language endangerment and revitalization programs around the world. Analyzes the practices of more and less successful programs including Maori, Hawaiian, and Navajo, as well as the roles of technology and social media in grassroots language revitalization.

Stresses special lessons that anthropology has to teach about the gendered facets of linguistic expression, including the necessity of an approach that is both empirical, including moments of interaction, and critical, exploring issues of power and agency. Considers conceptual benefits and limitations to using gendered difference as a model for sexual difference in the study of linguistic expression.

What are the possibilities of action? Of recognition? This course explores the ways that anthropologists have drawn from the humanities and the social sciences to attempt to answer these questions. Particularly important is work by Peirce and Bakhtin. Neither of these scholars engaged in anthropological methods and, yet, anthropologists have found in their ideas much guidance for thinking about the circulation of culture and the possibilities and predicaments of participation. This course will engage with ethnographic applications.

Meet Our Faculty

Masaaki Kamiya

Associate Professor of Japanese, Director of Linguistics


syntax, semantics, language acquisition, pragmatic and Japanese linguistics

Chaise LaDousa

Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Anthropology; Director of Education Studies


language and culture, particularly the ways in which institutions serve as loci for cultural production

Meredith Moss

Lecturer in Linguistics



Department Name

Linguistics Program

Contact Name

Masaaki Kamiya, Chair

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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