Graduate Anthropology Program

Linguistic Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology at OU has a strong commitment to the study of language and its relationship to culture, society, and cognition.
Our particular strengths lie in:

  • Language endangerment and revitalization, with a collaborative approach to working in endangered language communities
  • Ethnographic and discourse-centered approaches to language, culture, and society
  • Verbal art and performance, including narrative, poetics, and ceremonial speaking
  • Documentation and descriptive linguistics, and the role of language archives in this work
  • Endangered language instruction and acquisition
  • Language and identity
  • Linguistic relativity (language and worldview)
  • Language ideologies (cultural conceptions of language)
  • Language contact and change
  • Historical linguistics and grammaticalization
  • Oklahoma and related Native languages and families, especially Athapaskan, Kiowa, Euchee (Yuchi), Siouan, Muskogean, and Algonquian

Research Opportunities

Students in Linguistic Anthropology at OU have unique research opportunities that extend beyond the classroom.

The Department of Native American Languages at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History offers students several research opportunities in Native languages of Oklahoma. The archives house over 6,000 media and print resources in languages of Oklahoma and North America. Students may use the recording facilities and equipment. They have the opportunity to participate in language programming at the museum, including the annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair and museum exhibits. The department has a two-year Graduate Research position for students in Linguistic Anthropology.

Oklahoma Native Language Association

The Oklahoma Native Language Association is a Native-run organization of language teachers in state. Several faculty are members of the ONLA Teaching Team, which gives workshops in linguistics for Native communities, teaching methodology, language acquisition, and curriculum and materials development. Students may gain experience in teacher training with the ONLA Teaching Team as well as experience in organizing the annual conference and training workshops.

Mary Linn at 2014 CoLang

Dr. Mary Linn at CoLang 2014: Institute on Collaborative Language Research

Racquel Yamada in Suriname

Dr. Racquel-María Sapién helping facilitate a workshop on language documentation (Kalebas Kreek, Suriname)

Degrees and Program Requirements

Our department offers graduate degrees in Linguistic Anthropology and Applied Linguistic Anthropology at the M.A. level.  Additionally, students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology may do so through the Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Linguistic Anthropology. More information on program requirements can be found through the graduate program requirements page, and specific course descriptions can be found in the OU course catalog. Please click here to see the list of courses offered during the current and upcoming semester. 

The M.A. in Applied Linguistic Anthropology (MAALA) focuses on revitalizing endangered languages of the Americas. Students receive a strong foundation in documentary and descriptive linguistics, with an emphasis on working collaboratively with endangered language communities. The degree prepares students to analyze and describe linguistic data. Depending on the choice of guided electives, the degree also prepares students in language instruction, curriculum and materials development, and formation of language policy, among other applications.Please see the OU Course Catalog for a list of anthropology courses. More information on the MAALA program can be downloaded here. 

The M.A. in Linguistic Anthropology is a four-field, anthropology degree emphasizing the relationship of language as it shapes and is shaped by social life. Students receive a strong foundation in ethnographic methods and skills, through which students may study language performance, language and identity, and discourse analysis, among other topics.

Linguistic Anthropology Faculty 

Core Faculty

Sean O'Neill, Associate Professor
Racquel-María Sapién, Assistant Professor

Affiliated Faculty

Marcia Haag, Associate Professor, Modern Languages, Literature, and Linguistics
Teresa Bell, Associate Professor, Modern Languages, Literature, and Linguistics
Dylan Herrick, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages Literature, and Linguistics