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Accordion List

The Department of Linguistics and the Graduate Group in Linguistics offer instruction on both the undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) levels. The department was founded in 1947 by Zellig Harris, one of the most prominent American formal linguists of the post-war period. As the oldest modern linguistics department in the United States, it spearheads a comprehensive program for the study of natural language with special areas of concentration in formal linguistics (syntax, semantics, phonology, and morphology), computational linguistics, historical linguistics and comparative Indo-European linguistics, phonetics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, psycholinguistics, and descriptive linguistics. The program is especially attractive to those interested in the conjoining of empirical and theoretical perspectives in the study of language structure. The department was ranked as one of the seven strongest U.S. linguistics departments by the 1992 Research-Doctorate Programs report.

The Linguistics Department currently includes 14 standing faculty members, with three other faculty holding primary appointments in either Psychology or Computer and Information Sciences and two emeriti. An additional 14 Linguistics Graduate Group faculty have primary appointments in the language and area studies departments (Slavic, Germanic, Romance, South Asia), Anthropology, Education, Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer and Information Sciences. According to the 1992 Research-Doctorate Programs report, the number of linguistics faculty is above average compared with other U.S. research-doctorate programs in linguistics; the scholarly quality of its faculty was assessed as one of the top five linguistics faculties.

Although the number of B.A.s granted by the department each year is relatively small (approximately five per year between 1991/1992 and 1996/1997), undergraduate courses include students from disciplines spanning the humanities, social sciences, and the sciences. Fifty graduate students are currently enrolled fulltime in the department with approximately 10 to 15 entering each year. According to the 1992 Research-Doctorate Programs report, the graduate student body is large compared with other U.S. research-doctorate programs in linguistics. An average of six Ph.D.s and three M.A.s were granted per year between 1991/1992 and 1996/1997. Traditionally, those with graduate degrees have sought employment primarily in university teaching and research; however, other opportunities in industrial research are now opening up.

The research and instructional interests of Penn's linguistics faculty and graduate students are truly worldwide. Penn's Linguistics department offers instruction in seventy "uncommonly taught languages", a range surpassed only by Berkeley and Harvard (Directory of Programs in Linguistics in the United States and Canada 1995).

The broad nature of Penn linguistics is evident in the numerous collaborations with other departments and programs, focussing primarily in cognitive science and computational linguistics, applied linguistics, and linguistic anthropology.

Linguistics faculty and students collaborate with investigators in Mathematical Logic, Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, and Neuroscience in the activities of Penn's Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, founded in 1990 and funded since 1991 by the National Science Foundation as its only Science and Technology Center in the behavioral sciences. IRCS's inter-related scientific foci are language acquisition, structure, and processing, logic and computation, and perception and action. As part of the NSF STC mandate, IRCS's PENNlincs outreach program provides public school mentoring in mathematics and robotics and computer sciences, conducts curriculum development and research in early elementary science, and collaborates with local museums and other learning institutions on informal science learning.

The Graduate School of Education's Language in Education Division offers graduate degrees in several areas of applied linguistics. Linguistic anthropology has traditionally been a strong feature of the Anthropology Department's "four fields" approach. Descriptions of these two programs and related institutes are provided in the Education and Anthropology/Archaeology collection development policies.

The interdisciplinary Program in Language, Culture, and Society unites graduate courses in Anthropology, Communications, Education, Folklore and Folklife, Linguistics, and Sociology to provide instruction in sociolinguistics, ethnolinguistics, and acquisition of language and culture.

Although the materials linguists use are located in several different libraries, this policy treats the largest collection, housed in Van Pelt Library. Relevant collections in the University Museum and Engineering Libraries are described in separate policies. Van Pelt's educational linguistics and language acquisition collections are described in the Education and Psychology collection development policies.

Because of the age of Penn's academic program, the library's collection not only has considerable breadth but distinctive depth as well. Shelf-list counts (as of November 1991) estimate over 30,000 catalogued titles in the Library of Congress P classification and the older Dewey classification equivalents, including periodicals; as of June 1999, these classification ranges have grown to approximately 52,800 items. This does not include linguistic materials which fall under the various language classifications. The collection is strongest in those particular areas where the academic program has had its greatest emphases since its inception -- historical linguistics, formal linguistics, sociolinguistics, descriptive linguistics, and phonetics. Journals, the proceedings of major societies, selected working papers series, and some report literature form an important part of the collection. Basic tools such as grammars, dictionaries and thesauri are available especially in those areas where Penn has historical strengths or research is ongoing. In general, coverage is more comprehensive for a language than for its dialects. South and East Asia and the Near East are strongest in traditional descriptive and historical linguistics.

The Van Pelt Library collections include several significant rare and special resources for language research. The Daniel Garrison Brinton Collection of Mesoamerican and other American native languages, jointly housed in the Museum Library (monographs) and the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Collection (manuscripts), includes philological material compiled by the Mayan linguist Carl Hermann Berendt and comprises a major gathering of early native American linguistic materials. Other collections based on individual languages include the Bechstein Collection of Germanic philology and the Penniman-Gribbel Collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts (which includes grammars and other philological matter). Zellig Harris's structuralist work at Penn in the 1950s is reflected in a complete set of Transformations and Discourse Analysis Papers, published by the Linguistics Department during 1957-1971. The ERIC microfiche collection reproduces the monographic, report, and ephemeral literature in education from 1966 to the present. eHRAF Collection of Ethnography updates and revises online the Museum Library's Human Relations Area Files, providing fulltext searching as well as HRAF indexing for ethnographies.

The growing availability of electronic fulltext resources over the past decade has provided tools for linguistic researchers unanticipated by the library. While online text-encoded fulltext collections such as Middle English Compendium have been developed with an eye toward lexical and syntactic analysis, the Penn-hosted Linguistics Data Consortium has successfully adapted fulltext versions of New York TimesWall Street Journal, and newswires for projects in speech recognition, information retrieval and text understanding, as well as language teaching. Large electronic text corpora, Patrologia Latina (online), the ARTFL Project for online French texts, CETEDOC Library of Christian Latin Texts (CD-ROM), and the online Oxford English Dictionary are also useful research tools for historical and comparative linguistics.

Bibliographic access to the collection is provided through Franklin, the Penn Library's online catalog. As the older Dewey 400-class (for language) and 100- class (Philosophy) cataloging is under retrospective conversion, the Van Pelt Library Card Catalog is still needed for locating some pre-1968 materials.

Journal literature bibliography for linguistics is well-served by MLA International Bibliography (print, 1921-present; online, 1963-present), Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts [LLBA] (print, 1967-1993; online, 1967-present), Bibliographie Linguistique = Linguistic Bibliography (print, 1939-present), Bibliographie linguistischer Literatur = Bibliography of Linguistic Literature (print, 1971-present), and FRANCIS (print, as Bulletin Signalitique 24 or later 524, 1965-1993; online, 1984-present). The Penn Library Web also provides links to lists of working papers series from academic departments.

Access to the journal literature in related fields and specializations is provided by Anthropological Literature (print, 1979-present; online, 19th century-present), PsycINFO / Psychological Abstracts (print, 1927-1992; online, 1887-present), Sociological Abstracts (print and online, 1952-present), ERIC(online, 1966-present), EI Compendex (print, 1884-1994; online, 1970-present), and INSPEC / Computer & Control Abstracts (print, 1966-1992; online, 1969-present). Current awareness is provided through ISI Citation Indexes (online, 1988-present, weekly updates), a combination of recent years of Science Citation Index (print, 1955-1994; CD- ROM, 1985-present), Social Sciences Citation Index (print, 1956- 1997), and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (print, 1975- present). ProQuest Digital Dissertations (1861-present), the online version of Dissertation Abstracts International (print, 1938-1993) and American Doctoral Dissertations (print, 1933- present), supplemented by A Bibliography of American Doctoral Dissertations in Linguistics, 1900-1964with updates through 1974 in the ERIC microfiche collection.

1. Chronological

The collection reflects the study of linguistics at Penn, which treats all historical periods, from prehistory to the present.

Reprints of major historical works in linguistics are selectively obtained to replace missing items. Large microform and online collections of older texts are not considered solely for their value in linguistic research. Electronic, microform, and print backfiles of serials are selectively acquired to supplement current holdings.

2. Formats

The collection constitutes largely books and academic periodicals.

As of June 1999, 154 periodical titles in linguistics are currently received. The discipline has an established tradition of publishing in long-lived and distinguished monographic series: the library maintains standing orders for 118 monographic series and yearbooks, as of June 1999.

Reports of research in progress or recently completed are critical to the research and instructional program. The library currently receives the working papers and other publication series of major linguistics programs and research centers: Penn, MIT, Ohio State, Cornell, UCLA (phonetics) working papers; University of California (linguistics, philology), University of Massachusetts, CSLI/Stanford. Conference proceedings are selectively acquired; however, several proceeding series are received as standing orders: Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics,Proceedings of NELS, Proceedings of the Eastern States Conference on Linguistics, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Papers from the Regional Meeting / Chicago Linguistic Society, and Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages NEC Reports.

Dissertations are also collected selectively, primarily as revised or reprinted in three major monographic series: CSLI/Stanford's Dissertations in Linguistics, Garland Publishing's Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics, and Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics's HIL Dissertations. Many U.S. linguistics departments have a tradition of selling their dissertations at low cost: these are acquired selectively upon faculty recommendation.

Linguistic atlases and maps, dictionaries, grammars, and etymological studies are selectively considered, with preference given to languages currently taught or studied at Penn.

Electronic resources other than audiovisual and whose use would enhance linguistic instruction and research are collected selectively. When possible, electronic full-text versions of journals and other serial publications are collected: Ideal, the Academic Press e-journal project, provides online fulltext to recent volumes of several important linguistics journals; although Project JSTOR has not included linguistics as a collecting focus, it provides strong historic runs in sociology, philosophy, education, literature, and anthropology.

Memberships in learned societies are acquired when they facilitate the acquisition of society materials. At present, the Penn Library holds memberships in Linguistic Society of America and Sociiti de linguistique de Paris.

3. Geographical

There are no limitations to the geographic areas from which the library collects. Much of the current scholarly material collected is published in the United States and western Europe.

4. Language

There are no limitations to the languages the library collects. Much of the current scholarly material collected is in the major European languages, English, German, and French. A wide variety of other languages are also represented, including a number of "exotic" ones, especially in those areas where Penn has historical strengths or research is ongoing. Area studies bibliographers for South and East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia and Eastern Europe purchase materials in the local non- Western languages for those areas.

5. Publication dates

Budgetary constraints have resulted in a collecting emphasis on current publications. Retrospective purchases come primarily through faculty requests, reprinting of older volumes, the replacement of lost materials, or attempts to fill gaps in the collection.

The strong interdisciplinary character of modern linguistics results in materials acquisition from a very diverse group of sources. Faculty and student requests are essential. Approval plans and standing orders provide good coverage of U.S. and western European academic and trade publishers such as MIT Press, CSLI/Stanford University Press, John Benjamins, Lincom, and Mouton de Gruyter.

As modern linguistics spans the traditional boundaries among the social sciences, humanities, and sciences, little has been done to guide librarians in collection development. Book catalogues from the major publishers are reviewed. The recent journal literature - in particular, American SpeechApplied LinguisticsJournal of LinguisticsLinguaModern Language Journal, and especially Language and Word - is scanned for publication announcements and research trends.

Subject Level Location
Applied Linguistics 3F / 3F  
Bilingualism, Multilingualism 3F / 3F / 4F  
Descriptive Linguistics 4W / 3F  
Dialectology and Linguistic Geography 3F / 3F / 4F  
Discourse Analysis 3E / 3E / 4E  
Ethnolinguistics 3F / 3F with Museum
Grammar Theory, Comparative 3F / 3F  
Historical Linguistics 4F / 4F  
Indo-European Philology 4F / 4F  
Linguistic Methodology, Analysis 3F / 3F  
Linguistic Pragmatics 3E / 4E  
Mathematical and Computational Linguistics 3E / 4E with Math/Physics, Engineering
Natural Language Processing 3E / 4E  
Philosophy, Psychology, Origin of Language 3E / 3F  
Phonetics 3F / 4F  
Phonology, Morphology 3F / 4F  
Pidgins and Creoles 3F / 4F  
Psycholinguistics 3F / 3F / 4F  
Semiotics 3E / 3F with Annenberg
Sociolinguistics 3F / 4F  
Syntax, Semantics 3F / 4F  

No subjects are excluded.

General-audience primers and "teach yourself" manuals are not collected unless required by the scarcity of more scholarly materials for the specific language.

Audiovisual materials relating to a specific language or linguistic method are not at present collected. However, as dialect collections become archived on CD-ROM, and as the Penn Library absorbs the holdings of the School of Arts and Sciences's Multi-Media and Educational Technology Services collection, this format may be added. These items have typically been acquired by the Linguistics Department for its laboratories or by the affiliated Linguistics Data Consortium.

Digital and two-dimensional displays (oscillograms, intensity or pitch traces, mingograms, spectral displays and spectrograms) for descriptive acoustic phonetic analysis are not collected as an independent format.

The University Museum Library collects some general materials that relate to the study of anthropological linguistics. Its collection is particularly strong in the area of Mayan languages. Native American linguistic materials are collected by the Museum Library, complementing its Brinton monographic collection. As a charter member of the Human Relations Area Files, the Museum Library holds a complete microfiche set of the HRAF ethnographic collection, closed in 1991. The Museum Library holds microform sets of the 469-title Bascom Yoruba Collection (Berkeley), and the Professional Correspondence of Franz Boas(American Philosophical Society). The University Museums Babylonian Section maintains a research collection in Sumerian and associated languages.

The Center for Judaic Studies collects materials in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Semitic languages and linguistics.

The Engineering Library collects materials in artificial intelligence and computer-processing in language analysis. The Biomedical Library collects materials in neuroscience and the physiological aspects of speech.

The Department of Linguistics maintains a language laboratory library which contains recorded and some written materials for the independent study of many common and exotic languages. The Telsur Project's Phonological Atlas of North America is produced and hosted online here, as are the Penn Syntax Bibliography and the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English. Equipment for further recording as well as analysis, manipulation, and the auditory evaluation of speech signals is available as well.

The Linguistics Data Consortium, an open consortium of university and other research libraries founded in 1992, is hosted by Penn and receives funding from the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation's Information and Intelligent Systems division. The LDC provides its members with the fundamental tools and resources for language technology resources. The LDC publishes speech corpora (digitized audio recordings of speech) and text corpora intended for discourse analysis, information retrieval, language identification, language modeling, machine translation, message understanding, natural language processing, parsing, pronounciation modeling, prosody, speaker identification and verification, speech recognition, speech synthesis, tagging, and topic detection and tracking.

Penn Language Center offers curricular support in language instruction. The PLC's Language Research and Resource Center produces multimedia materials for Penn language programs.

The African Language Resource Council sponsors scholarship and publication of resources for the study of African languages. Current activities focus on Yoruba, Manding, and Bambara.

The Graduate School of Educations Language in Education Division maintains the Nessa Wolfson Reading Room, containing books, journals, newsletters, Ph.D. dissertations in linguistics and related fields, and texts for teaching English as a second language.

Beyond the Penn campus, the library of the American Philosophical Society provides manuscript resources for native American languages through the papers of Franz Boas, Mary Rosamond Haas, Charles Marius Barbeau, Floyd Lounsbury, Harry Hoijer, C. F. Voegelin, Paul Radin, and other anthropologists and linguists, as well as the the Franz Boas Collection of Materials for American Linguistics.