The UGA Department of Linguistics is committed to fostering a safe, welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, and staff, in which different voices and perspectives are heard and valued. We believe that our teaching and research are enriched and strengthened through the inclusion of individuals with different views and backgrounds.
The discipline of Linguistics provides us with insights into communication and culture that can contribute to social justice and equity. The UGA Department of Linguistics endorses the Linguistic Society of America’s Statement on Race and Statement on Racial Justice. We uphold UGA’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and support the University’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
The study of Linguistics helps us understand how language is used in the construction of social identities and the role of language in the promotion of different ideologies, some of which perpetuate bias, prejudice, and inequality. Many of our courses address these issues; for example:
Our introductory Linguistics course, LING 2100 The Study of Language, shows students that all varieties of language are systematic and function as an effective means of communication for their speakers. All varieties are equally good, “correct”, or “logical” from a linguistic perspective. Speaking a non-standard or non-prestigious variety or having an “accent” does not indicate a lower level of intelligence or any other type of inherent deficiency on the part of speakers. In LING 2100 students also learn about the harm created by language prejudice, which has no basis in linguistic facts.
Students have the opportunity to learn more about language variation and its relationship to society in more advanced courses, such as LING 4860/6860 Sociolinguistics, LING 4015/6015 Language, Race, and Ethnicity in the US (which satisfies the University Cultural Diversity Requirement and the Franklin College Multicultural Requirement), and LING 4870/6870 Language, Gender, and Sexuality. In various courses, including LING 4880/6880 Introduction to Field Methods and Language Documentation, students also learn about the ethics of conducting linguistic research with human subjects in general, and our particular obligation to respect the viewpoints and rights of members of minority groups in our work.
For more information about diversity initiatives and resources at UGA, please visit the Office of Institutional Diversity website.