The Yale University Library has a long tradition of collecting materials in linguistics, and Sterling Memorial Library's collection is among the most comprehensive in the United States. The main body of the linguistics collections is in Sterling Memorial Library.
In recent decades, new research interests and courses of study have included the topics related to the traditional approaches to the study of language, such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, historical linguistics, and the experimental investigations of normal and impaired language processing. The Department of Linguistics promotes the interdisciplinary approach in investigating the systems of knowledge, such as cognitive neuroscience, laboratory phonetic analysis, and computational and mathematical modeling, e.g. exploration of data from a wide variety of languages, both well-studied and less well documented, with particular faculty expertise in the Slavic, Romance, Australian, and Indo-Aryan languages.
The library seeks to support research and teaching through targeted acquisitions, both of new materials and retrospectively. In recent decades, this has resulted in particularly strong collections in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, phonetics, historical linguistics, neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics, field linguistics, and cognitive science of language.
Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported
- Department of Linguistics
- Program in Medieval Studies
- Renaissance Studies Program
Because linguistics has cross-disciplinary implications, these collections also offer support for research and teaching in other Western European language and literature departments (e.g., English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, German) as well as area studies such as African Studies.
- Academic and trade press monographs are acquired in print or electronic formats.
- Maps and textbooks are generally excluded unless requested by faculty.
- Online-only subscriptions are preferred; print subscriptions are initiated or continued when an online edition is not available, not stable, or not adequate.
- Electronic reference materials, including indexing and abstracting databases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, are almost always preferred to their print counterparts. Print reference materials are acquired when an online version is not available, not stable, or not adequate.
- DVDs are acquired very selectively, primarily in response to faculty demand.
- Yale Library has extensive microform holdings supporting linguistics. However, due to the increasing conversion of microform collections to digital formats and the interlibrary loan availability of microform sets from the Center for Research Libraries, microform supporting linguistics is now acquired on demand only.
English and Western European languages materials are collected extensively and other languages selectively.
Chronological and geographical focus
Current materials are emphasized, with out of print materials purchased to replace damaged or lost copies of significant works, or in response to faculty or student requests.
In terms of time periods covered in the materials themselves, the collections run the gamut from medieval to contemporary.
Materials published in North America (excluding Mexico) and Western Europe are collected extensively. All other geographic areas of the world are collected selectively.
Collaborations within Yale
- The International Collections all acquire material in linguistics published anywhere in the world pertaining to their respective regions.
- Collaboration within HCRE (Humanities Collections and Research Education) on purchases, especially databases of wide interest to humanists including historical newspapers, pamphlets, scholarly editions, and journals.
- Occasional collaboration with the Music Library, Divinity Library, Center for British Art, or the Law Library in purchases of or subscriptions to databases of mutual interest.
- Bass Library