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A Brief History of the Stony Brook Linguistics Department

The linguistics program at Stony Brook University is only eleven years younger than the university itself. In 1968-1969, Frank Anshen and Beatrice Hall left the English Department and founded the Program in Linguistics, with an advisory board consisting of faculty from the English Department, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, the Department of Education, and the Spanish Department. The following year the Program in Linguistics hired the first member of the faculty at Stony Brook specifically to the linguistics faculty.

In the mid-1970s, the ESL Program joined the linguistics program. In the early 1980s, the program in Linguistics became the Department of Linguistics, with Mark Aronoff as chair. At that time, the M.A. TESOL program was still offered through the Germanic and Slavic Studies department, but it is now also under the aegis of the Department of Linguistics.

Since its founding the Linguistics faculty has had a very productive collaborative relationship with other departments at Stony Brook, as evidenced by the group of people who came together to form the initial linguistics program. These relationships continue to this day. A number of the current linguistics faculty come from other language departments (e.g., Italian, Germanic & Slavic, and Hispanic) and still maintain relationships with those departments. Nowadays, a number of the newer faculty members have an interdisciplinary focus on linguistics and therefore have connections with the Computer Science department, the Psychology department, and the Philosophy department, to name a few.

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