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Irene Appelbaum, Director


Objectives. The Linguistics Program aims to train students in the scientific analysis of language. Students are prepared to pursue further graduate study in the field; study other languages; apply their understanding of language to other fields including teaching English and other languages to non–native learners of those languages.

Indigenous and Endangered Languages. The research focus of the Program includes Indigenous languages of North America.  Montana is the aboriginal home of speakers of languages belonging to four distinct families: 1. Salish (Flathead); 2. Algonquian (Cree, Blackfoot, Northern Cheyenne, and Gros Ventre); 3. Siouan (Assiniboine, Sioux and Crow); and 4. Kootenai, a language isolate.  The Linguistics Program is committed to preserving and promoting the linguistic diversity of the region and the state.

Interdisciplinary.  The Linguistics Program is situated within the Department of Anthropology.  In offering its curriculum the Linguistics Program collaborates with Communication Studies, Communicative Sciences and Disorders, English, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Native American Studies, and Philosophy.

Degrees Offered

  • Graduate Program. The Program offers an M.A. degree in Linguistics.  Students may also pursue an M.A. degree with a Linguistics Specialization through the Department of Anthropology. 
  • Undergraduate Program.  The Program offers a minor in Linguistics. Students majoring in any discipline including, but not limited to, the following fields will find linguistics courses to be a highly valuable addition to their major course of study: Biology, Communication Studies, Communicative Science and Disorders, Computer Science, Education, English, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Native American Studies, and Psychology. Earning a minor in Linguistics requires completion of 18 credits. Students must complete the following requirements beyond their major degree requirements:

    i.   3 credits: LING 470;

    ii.  6 credits (2 of the following 3 courses): LING 471, LING 472/572, LING 489; and

    iii. 9 credits (3 elective courses from among the following): LING 270S*, LING 375X, LING 465*, LING 466, LING 471**, LING 472/572**, LING 473, LING 474, LING 475, LING 477, LING 478, LING 484, LING 489**.      

    * Cannot be taken after taking 470 or other courses marked with an asterisk. Only one of 270S and 465 may be counted towards the minor.

    ** May be taken as an elective, only if not taken as a required course under ii. above.

    A major in Linguistics is not currently offered.

    Students may also pursue a Linguistics Option while earning a B.A. degree through the following departments:  Anthropology, English, and Modern and Classical Languages and Literature (French).  For specific course requirements, students should refer to the relevant department’s section in this catalog.
  • Certificate of Accomplishment in English as a Second Language. The University offers a sequence of courses (22 credits) leading to a Certificate of Accomplishment in English as a Second Language.  The Certificate is issued by the University upon the recommendation of the Linguistics Program and the Faculty Senate.
    In order to earn this Certificate, a student must hold, or simultaneously earn, a B.A. or higher degree and complete the following requirements:   

    i.  12 credits: LING 470; LING 471; LING 472/572; LING 477 or LING 478  

    ii.   6 credits (2 upper-division elective courses from among the following): LING 466, LING 473, LING 475, LING 476, and LING 489;

    iii.  3 credits: LING 480; and

    iv.  1 credit: LING 491.

    Courses taken for Certificate credit may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis (except 491).
  • English as a Second Language/Academic English (EASL). Outside of its curriculum, the Linguistics Program directs several EASL courses for international students whose TOEFL scores range between 500 and 580.
    EASL courses enhance learning second-language English as the language of classroom instruction at an English–speaking university or college.  These courses facilitate the transition from learning English to using English in academic settings.  Course content concentrates on academic uses of language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening, with a limited amount of intensive activity involving grammar and/or pronunciation.
    Trained, supervised Graduate Assistants instruct EASL courses.  Each EASL course lasts one semester and grants international students three credit hours toward graduation.  
  • Teacher Preparation in English as a Second Language Minor Teaching Field:  For an endorsement in the Minor Teaching Field of English as a Second Language, a student must complete LING 470, LING 471, LING 472/572, LING 477 or LING 478, LING 480 and LING 491 (for three credits); at least two courses from the following: LING 466, 473, 475, 476, and 489. Students also must gain admission to the Teacher Education Program and meet the requirements for teaching licensure (see College of Education section of this catalog).  Courses taken for the Teaching Minor may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

Linguistics (LING) - Course Descriptions

191, 198, 270S, 295, 375X, 391, 398, 403, 405, 465, 466, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, 477, 478, 480, 481, 482, 484, 489, 491, 492, 495, 498, 559, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 584, 589, 595, 596, 598, 599, 699

Linguistics Program Faculty

Irene Appelbaum, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1995, Associate Professor, Director

Leora Bar-el, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 2005, Associate Professor

Mizuki Miyashita, Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2002, Associate Professor

Tully J. Thibeau, Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1999, Associate Professor

Adjunct Faculty

Jeanie Castillo, M.A., California State University, Fresno, 1998

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807