Linguistics analyses both individual languages and the properties of language as an ability characteristic only of humans. By identifying commonalities between different languages, but also by gaining insight into the diversity exhibited by the languages of the world, linguistics contributes to our understanding of how the mind works and of the driving forces behind cultural and wider social processes. Since language production, comprehension, and acquisition are shaped by many factors, linguistics relies on insights provided by other fields (sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, biology, and neuroscience, computer science, etc.), thus contributing to their development.
The Department of Linguistics at the University of Zadar was founded in 2008. Three study programs are offered at the Department:
- A Double Major BA program Language and Communication in a Multilingual society (6 semesters, 180 ECTS credits),
- A Double Major MA program in Linguistics (4 semesters, 60 ECTS credits),
- A Single Major MA program in Linguistics (4 semesters, 120 ECTS credits).
A university double-major BA program Language and Communication in a Multilingual society is the first BA program at the University of Zadar to be completely held in English. This is also the first program aimed specifically at the acquisition of practical and applied competences in linguistics, which makes it unique and different from other philological BA study program in Croatia. Additionally, the program is organized in an innovative modular structure the aim of which is, on the one hand, to enhance students’ focus to specific fields within linguistics in each study semester, and which allows a degree of flexibility because the order of teaching single modules is not necessarily fixed. Learning of additional two foreign languages (including a non-Indo-European one) is obligatory and practical experience and/or taking part in research is expected. The envisaged number of students will make individual and group work possible, as well as strong emphasis on developing specific individual interests in the field of linguistics.
The MA programs conducted at our Department offer prospective students an opportunity to study the structure of different languages in depth as well as the role of language in society. Students learn about the specific properties of language at all levels of linguistic structure, such as the sounds of language (Phonetics and Phonology), morphemes and words (Morphology), phrases and sentences (Syntax), and meaning (Semantics). In addition, numerous elective courses enable the students to gain an insight into the relation between language and mind (Cognitive Linguistics), language acquisition and multilingualism (Psycholinguistics), language variability and change in a societal and geographic context (Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Geography), the relation between language, identity and culture (Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Identity), the role of language in the learning and teaching processes (Educational Linguistics), language in use, or how meaning is shaped by context (Pragmatics) and numerous other areas. Students are given an opportunity to spend the third or fourth semester at a university abroad by participating in a mobility program (Erasmus+, CEEPUS, etc.).
The Department currently employs one associate professor, two assistant professors and one Post-doc. Staff members also participate in the "Humanities" PhD Program of the University of Zadar as supervisors at the specialist programs Philology and Ethnology and Anthropology.
The main activity of the Department, in addition to teaching, is encouraging scientific research. The Department took part in the following research projects in the past: Perception and Articulation in Croatian (Croatian Ministry of Science and Education), Applied Technology for Language-Aided CMS, Transfer as a Strategy in Foreign Language Learning (Croatian Science Foundation), Coordinated Research in the Experimental Morphosyntax of South Slavic Languages (EMSS) (Leverhulme Trust), Promoting Multilingualism in Zadar: Ethnolinguistic Vitality of Arbanasi (ProViZA) (European Social Fund), Croatian in Contact with Other Languages, while it also holds partner status in the project Speeches of Makarska Coast: Synchronic and Diachronic Approaches. The Department encourages mobility of both its students and academic staff members, who went on more than ten short- or long-term study trips abroad and participated in more than fifty conferences in Croatia as well as abroad. A number of scientific papers have been published in collections cited in WoS and Scopus databases as well as other A1 publications. The Linguistics Department organized four scientific conferences so far as well as four Zadar Linguistic Forums (ZLF), the main annual event at the Department. On top of this, the Department regularly hosts guest talks by Croatian and international scholars as part of the Linguistic Wednesday series of lectures. A focus on modern linguistic theories and methods as well as interdisciplinarity are the key features of the Department’s scientific and teaching efforts.