The faculty of language is unique to humans and the study of language is the study of our shared human heritage. Linguistics is the scientific study of human language, its structure and its diversity, how children learn it and how adults produce and understand it, how social practices shape and are shaped by it.
The Department of Linguistics at the University of Colorado Boulder is a major center of interdisciplinary research in cognitive-functional linguistics, computational linguistics, language documentation, psycholinguistics and experimental linguistics, and sociocultural linguistics. It offers a range of research programs targeting properties of spoken language. The Department's orientation is empirical: its approach to the structure and use of language confronts theory with first-hand observations. Analysis of video and audio data (typically conversational data), acoustic measurements of speech, computational modeling and statistical analysis, psycholinguistic experimentation and fieldwork in local communities and abroad all contribute to this enterprise.