Research interests in the department are varied and cover a wide range of theoretical and applied aspects of linguistics, including syntax, phonology, semantics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language typology, language documentation, language archiving, lexicography, multimedia, language pedagogy, translation studies, and research on individual languages and language families. More specific details of research based in the department are available from the research project pages or from individual staff profiles.
Researchers in the the Faculty have wide-ranging academic interests that span the world’s languages, from Chinese to Arabic, Swahili to Korean, Mongolian to Japanese. This focus on Oriental and African languages, informed by research in other Western and non-Western languages and combined with the unparalleled access to the vast language and regional expertise of linguists in other SOAS departments, provides a unique research environment for the study of theoretical, comparative, descriptive and documentary linguistics.
SOAS is the host institution for the Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics Research Group (APLL) an inter-collegiate committee of academics, which organises events based around current research in Austronesian languages and linguistics.
There are several research groups and reading groups, including the African Linguistics Research Group and the Language Variation Reading Group. SOAS and UCL are jointly organising the London Phonology Seminar.
Research facilities in the Department include the Endangered Languages Archive, a state of the art digital language archive, and the Linguistics Resources Room, which is equipped with computer hardware and software for linguistic analysis and a digital sound recording booth.