Mission Statement


The goal of the Institute for the Empirical Study of Language is to enhance research on the processes of perception, production, and acquisition of language. The use of language is one of the most significant activities distinguishing human beings from other species. A proper understanding of language use is a major goal in cognitive science, and progress toward that goal will have both theoretical and applied results. Ohio University has a growing number of faculty and graduate students who are involved in empirical investigations of language use. We have joined together as an Institute to earn the benefits of collaborative research and shared facilities. Our members come from the College of Arts and Sciences (Linguistics, Modern Languages, Psychology), and the College of Health Sciences and Professions (School of Communication Sciences and Disorders).

Unique Value of the Institute

The concept of an institute for the empirical study of language is unique in Ohio, though similar kinds of groups exist in other parts of the United States. Bringing faculty, students, and laboratories into a collaborative unit permits research which is not possible for an individual investigator. The Institute increases the visibility of language research at Ohio University and increases opportunities for external funding. Schools and departments are also able to use the Institute to assist in recruiting new faculty and graduate students because of the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty and graduate students from several disciplines.

Space and Equipment

Members of the Institute have access to laboratory facilities operated by the Departments of Linguistics, Modern Languages, and Psychology and by the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Lab 015A in Gordy Hall is operated jointly by Linguistics and Modern Languages. It houses equipment for speech analysis and supports research in speech perception and spoken word recognition. A second lab, the Cognitive Lab, is operated by Psychology in Porter Hall. It has IBM and Macintosh personal computers plus software for creating and controlling experiments. It presently supports research in visual and spoken word recognition. Psychology also has the Klare Lab, housing nine personal computers for research purposes. The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders has a language intervention lab, a neurolinguistics lab, a lab for signal processing, acoustic chambers for recording and testing speech processing under controlled conditions, and electrophysiologic and eye movement recording equipment. Modern Languages has three 30-seat listening labs for presentation and recording of audio taped material.


The Institute is governed by a Director and two Associate Directors. The Director of the Institute oversees the budget of the Institute, presides at meetings of the Institute, and represents the Institute at other official meetings. The Associate Director for Research identifies opportunities for external funding, assists in the preparation of grant proposals, and coordinates the use of research facilities shared by members of the Institute. The Associate Director for Training organizes opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in research that is conducted by Institute members.