Understanding human language


At the core of what it means to be human, and central to so much of our interaction, is language. It’s what sets us apart from every other species on Earth. Linguistics at UWA aims to grow your language understanding and skills, as well as complement other areas of study where language plays a role. Gain a foundation for a career that involves language or languages, human social organisation and culture, or the human mind. Graduates could pursue a career in research, language teaching, speech therapy, journalism and broadcasting, translation and interpreting, Indigenous education and support work, or information technology.

We work closely with the Translation and Inter-cultural Research Cluster, a research entity dedicated to advancing understanding of contemporary language-related issues, including:

  • translation
  • multilingualism
  • cross-cultural communication
One of the hardest things in the world is to convey a meaning from one mind to another.

Lewis Carroll

Our research expertise

Our research expertise and projects involve work on diverse languages including Australian and Aboriginal English, Kriol, French, Spanish and a range of Indigenous languages in Australia.


Picture-naming, synonymy and language divergence in bilinguals

This UWA Research Collaboration Award-funded study questions how bilinguals process words and whether bilingualism can make languages more or less alike over time. It combines psycholinguistic methods with historical and evolutionary linguistics to answer these questions.


Aboriginal English in the global city: do minorities participate in surrounding language change?

This ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award project will directly inform the implementation of cross-cultural teaching programs in Australia. For more information, visit our project webpage. 


Emotions, language and culture in Arnhem Land

This ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award investigates expressivity and emotions in language in the Katherine Region of Australia.

Community program and volunteers


We have an active program for Linguistics within the community and are currently seeking volunteers in the following areas:

  • foreign language speakers for out-of-class language practice
  • promotion of languages at university events and school visits
  • guest speakers who use languages in their professional lives

If you would like to get involved, contact the School of Social Sciences.

Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad


The Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad is a state and national linguistics competition for secondary students. This competition introduces students to language puzzles which challenge natural logic and reasoning, while helping students learn about the richness, diversity and systematic nature of language.

Find out more


Contact the School of Social Sciences

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Arts and Law Student Office, open weekdays 8.30am to 4.30pm

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Weekdays 8.30am -4.30pm