Linguistics in Clinical Research Program

Linguistics in Clinical Research Program


Why study Linguistics in Clinical Research?

The ability to communicate using spoken language is unique to the human species, and is one of the most intricate abilities of the human mind.  For instance, in order to tell a joke, we have to apply multiple cognitive and operative systems: access memory traces for concepts and situations, formulate grammatical and coherent sentences, coordinate several motor systems for speech production, and tell the joke with the appropriate intonation, in order to generate laughter.  Impairment to any of the systems involved in language comprehension, speech or reading, will result in a specific language impairment which may have minimal or devastating effects on the ability of the individual to function in modern society. Indeed, language impairments of various kinds are found in nearly every clinical population, including developmental specific language impairment (SLI), dyslexia, autism, stuttering, and all the way to aphasia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and others.  Linguistic theory provides a theoretical framework for quantitative and precise assessment of language impairments.  Better understanding of specific language impairments in different clinical populations is paramount in order to provide individually tailored effective treatment. 


Why study at Bar-Ilan's Graduate Program in Linguistics in Clinical Research?


Because of the multidisciplinary studies

Our one-of-a-kind curriculum enables students from various disciplines, such as BA holders in speech and language pathologies, cognitive psychology or neuropsychology, brain sciences, special education, to expand their education and deepen their understanding of linguistics while pursuing an MA degree. The Graduate Program in Linguistics in Clinical Research provides a theoretical linguistics framework, and introduces students to a variety of topics relevant to contemporary life in Israeli society, such as acquisition of first and second languages, cognitive and cerebral foundation of reading acquisition and dyslexia, evaluation of language impairments in a multilingual population, linguistic aspects of psychiatric disorders and more.  The Program offers MA (with or without thesis) and PhD study tracks.


Because we bridge theory and clinical aspects in language studies

Contemporary Linguistics focuses on the study of human languages, with the objective of characterizing the knowledge and thought processes we use in order to understand a sentence, a joke or a story, to participate in a conversation, to access a word in our metal lexicon or to write a text message to a friend.

In the clinical setup, Linguistic theory provides a theoretical framework and investigative tools that allow us to better characterize and understand linguistic impairments in developmental (SLI, autism, dyslexia), psychiatric (schizophrenia, Tourette's) and neurological populations (aphasia and acquired dyslexia). The Graduate Program in Linguistics in Clinical Research is distinctive in that it combines theoretical studies taught by leading linguists, and courses in innovative research methods, such as brain imaging, psycholinguistic experiments, and narrative analysis.  Those and others provide a better, more comprehensive understanding of the linguistic, cognitive and cerebral basis for specific language impairments in clinical populations.


Because of our faculty and curriculum

The Program's faculty includes prominent experts in theoretical and clinical linguistics.  The Graduate Program in Linguistics in Clinical Research does not assume student’s existing knowledge in linguistics, and offers students with clinical backgrounds all the theoretical foundations necessary to succeed in the Program.  The curriculum includes courses in general linguistics, aimed to provide students with a firm foundation of such fields as syntax, semantics, pragmatics and psycho-linguistics.  Other advanced courses offered within the program discuss specialized topics such as morphology acquisition, neurolinguistics, language and schizophrenia, language in autism, language and attention disorders, dyslexia, specific language impairments in multilingual children.  These courses are also used as bases for research initiatives both for MA and PhD degrees, in accordance with faculty members' specialties.


Because of the applicative research approach

Most of our faculty at the Department of English at Bar-Ilan University are directly or indirectly involved in clinical research.  Language clinicians who have acquired advanced degrees in the Department have completed research projects in a variety of fields, such as storytelling characteristics of bilingual children with specific language impairments, understanding questions and logical context in autism, reading skills acquisition and vocabulary in Arabic, Russian syntax understanding in bilingual Russian-Hebrew speakers, and more. 


For more information about The Graduate Program in Linguistics in Clinical Research at Bar-Ilan University, refer to the Program's website.



Last modified: 18/10/2015