Language is important for almost everything we do. Language is the basis of most communication, from small talk to business transactions to political speeches. Language allows us to transfer information from one person to another, whether in the classroom, a newspaper, or Twitter. Language is our primary means of storing information–in our memories, notes, stone tablets, books, websites, and databases.
Language can also divide us. Children and adults who experience language difficulties–whether caused by a developmental disorder, brain damage, or simply not speaking the local language–can lose access to education, health care, and countless other forms of social support. Language technologies that can help with translation or information processing only work on a few languages, and not particularly well even for those.
The scientific study of language is, therefore, essential to understand who we are as humans. Just as important, we need it to develop tools and tackle problems that affect people’s everyday lives.
Language Science is a broad field that cuts across many different areas of study, integrating social and biological sciences with computer science and engineering, plus strong roots in humanities, education, and clinical fields. It also has a global reach. Connecting expertise, ideas and creativity from these diverse areas is a top priority and a key strength of the Maryland Language Science Center.