All of us students in the program formed a close friendship and had weekly coffee hours and social gatherings. It felt like a close community, probably because we were the only ones that understood what each other’s research was about.

Alexander, alumnus

The Institute of Linguistics offers a Colloquium research series, Reading groups, and is the home of multiple sponsored projects. 

Colloquium & Other Events

Colloquium features public presentations and workshops on a variety of topics related to linguistics research and scholarship. These events highlight the diverse fields of research conducted in the unit, and many focus on understudied and Indigenous languages. Institute events beyond the Colloquium series are advertised on the news and event page.

Reading Groups

If you are interested in joining any of these reading groups, please contact to be added to the group's mailing list.

Computational Linguistics Reading Group (CLRG) meets to read and discuss current research in Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing and to occasionally get hands-on experience with the latest NLP tools and libraries. Many semesters the group explores a specific topic in depth.

Linguists scientifically study human language data, and as is the case with any science, the quality of the data is extremely important for accurate results. In the Fieldwork Reading Group, we will study both strategies in collecting robust natural language data through fieldwork as well as research in methodology and theory for analyzing and processing collected data. There are many hats a fieldworker needs to don, and there are several components to a successful fieldwork experience (connecting and working with consultants, formulating a wide array of tasks specifically suited to the type of desired data, using multimedia data collection techniques, administering tasks correctly, interpreting the data, running robust follow-up sessions for quality control, storing and managing the data, proper use of equipment, etc.).

In addition to papers focussed on fieldwork and methodology, we will also tackle theoretical readings, so as to learn the skills of making effective theory-oriented tasks that crucially put predictions of influential theories to test, thereby making both empirical and theoretical contributions to the field.

Beyond reading papers together, students working on projects that incorporate fieldwork can use this venue at any stage to present their work in an informal setting and get feedback on all aspects of methods and theory. This group is meant to facilitate a thriving community of fieldworkers in the Institute of Linguistics, across many different linguistic subfields, language families, and research topics.

The research and reading group on Hmong linguistics meets regularly over the course of the academic year. The goal of the group is to create a space for students, faculty, language teachers and community members interested in learning, reading or researching about the Hmong language to get together and to support each other. The group is open to the UMN community, researchers at other institutions, language teachers and community members.  Participants should feel free to attend when they can, without committing to being there for every meeting. The activities will be responsive to the interests of the regular participants of the group.  Meetings will be held via zoom.  Please contact Professor Hooi Ling Soh at if you are interested in participating in the group.

This reading group explores the intersection of linguistics and social justice, with the aim of expanding our understanding of our roles as academics in either perpetuating or dismantling linguistic injustices—and injustices within the field of linguistics. In particular, this semester will focus on the treatment of race and ethnicity in linguistics as a discipline and in the language practices of society at large. We will read papers primarily from the field of sociolinguistics, but will also read about and discuss the interaction of these sociolinguistic concepts with linguistic theory, fieldwork, pedagogy, etc. We will aim to connect these readings directly to our own practices as linguists whenever possible.

Syntax and Semantics Reading Group (SRG) has the longest history in the current Institute of Linguistics reading groups. Our group attempts to create an environment for community members who have interests in syntactic and semantic theories. We read and discuss selected theoretical papers/articles based on our members’ preferences. The main structure of an SRG meeting is to have one (or two) volunteers to lead the discussion of an article to help us navigate effectively. We also serve as a venue for practice talks and student presentations.

The Algonquian Languages Reading Group is a place to discuss anything and everything relating to Algonquian languages. The format is flexible and adapts to the needs and interests of participants, and activities range from discussing theoretical papers to hosting hands-on software workshops to just hanging out and discussing the various things that we are working on or interested in. It is also a space for people to get feedback on their work or to prepare for upcoming talks. The group is open to anyone with even a passing interest in Algonquian Linguistics!

Sponsored Research Projects

The Institute of Linguistics is currently engaged in the following sponsored research projects:

The faculty members were very open-minded, understanding, and treated me as their colleagues. I appreciate all the mentorships I got during my program.

Borui Z., alumna