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Co-directors' Message

Welcome to the Language Sciences Institute at UBC!

A picture of the Language Sciences co-directors Janet Werker and Bryan Gick standing in front of the Buchanan fountain, smiling.


Of all the species in the world, only humans use language.

Language allows us to build complex civilizations, create advanced technology, and form diverse cultures across the world. It touches every area of our lives, visits us in our dreams, and is used in some form by every human, every day.

From Indigenous language revitalization, to children’s language acquisition, to computer modelling of the vocal tract, to policy reform regarding harmful online speech, to studying how the language of healthcare providers might be linked to a patient’s health, language sciences research is diverse, cross-disciplinary, and far-reaching.

At UBC’s Language Sciences Institute, we want to help connect researchers across disciplines, institutions and sectors, creating collaborations that result in innovative, silo-spanning work. We want to help communicate this knowledge to graduate and undergraduate students – our language researchers of the future – as well as to the wider public.

We envision language sciences as a broad, inclusive field, reflected by our three primary research themes and 16 sub-themes. We see the Initiative as a local, national, and global network of interdisciplinary scholars, teachers, and learners, working with community partners to translate knowledge into action that improves lives and helps inform science and society.

You can find out more about the ways Language Sciences supports our members in addressing emerging research questions via this website, including through collaborative talks by respected scholarspublic film screenings that highlight language issues and innovations, an interdisciplinary undergraduate coursediverse projectsexamples of our members’ workmatching funds for grant applicationsstudent conferences and more.

We invite anyone interested in the language sciences to join us in shaping the future of this field. And we invite every one of our more than 200 faculty, student, and affiliate members to own the Language Sciences Institute: to actively engage as it grows; to create new collaborations; to form long-term partnerships; and to help shape what the Institute will become.

Let’s talk!

Language Sciences Institute co-directors Professors Janet Werker and Bryan Gick