Collection Area


General Purpose

This policy statement is restricted to linguistics as the science of language. It covers theoretical and applied linguistics, diachronic (historical-comparative) linguistics, and synchronic (descriptive) linguistics. The collection serves the teaching and research activities of several departments as indicated below. See also the following policy statements: Anthropology (for Ethnolinguistics), Psychology (for Psycholinguistics), and Sociology (for Sociolinguistics).

The existing collection strongly reflects Nineteenth Century scholarship in historical-comparative linguistics, the European schools of the Twentieth Century, and the American emphasis on descriptive studies in the period ca.1930-1960 . Current collecting, of course, keeps up with research in transformational grammar, the predominant movement since 1957. Acquisition of monographic materials in TG concentrates on general works, tending to exclude the proliferating output of works applying the methodology to specific languages, many of them outside our collecting scope. Moreover, our extensive holdings of journals in linguistics provide adequate coverage of this material.

Dartmouth College Program

Linguistics in the Twentieth Century has become increasingly inter-disciplinary. It has long been an integral element in courses in anthropology and philosophy as well as in language programs. The Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science offers separate undergraduate majors for linguistics and cognitive science. A linguistics minor is also offered, or students may modify another major with linguistics.

General Subject Boundaries

Most of the materials relevant to this policy statement are located in Baker Library -- 800-801 in Dewey and P in the Library of Congress classification system. Some linguistic atlases are treated as maps (Library of Congress G class, located in the Map Room). The relatively few works dealing with experimental and acoustic phonetics are assigned the subject heading Speech -- physiological aspects, located in the Dana Biomedical Library.


Most of the holdings in linguistics are in the various European languages, including Russian. An occasional work dealing with a language outside our collecting scope is acquired if written in a Western language.

Geographic Areas

For theoretical linguistics, geographic area is irrelevant. For both historical-comparative and descriptive linguistics, no area is excluded. The collection, however, is strongest in the Indo-European family of languages.

Types Of Material Collected

The collection consists of monographs and a wide range of journals. Linguistic atlases treating phonetic and lexical variations form an important component of the collection.

Revision History

LC Class



John R. James

Current Bibliographer

Daniel H. Abosso