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Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports research on human language — encompassing investigations of the properties of individual human languages and natural language in general — and the intersections of linguistics with cognition, society and other areas of science.


The Linguistics Program supports basic science in the domain of human language, encompassing investigations of the grammatical properties of individual human languages, and of natural language in general. Research areas include syntax, semantics, morphology, phonetics and phonology.

The program encourages projects that are interdisciplinary in methodological or theoretical perspective, and that address questions that cross disciplinary boundaries, such as (but not limited to):

  • What are the psychological processes involved in the production, perception, and comprehension of language?
  • What are the computational properties of language and/or the language processor that make fluent production, incremental comprehension or rapid learning possible?
  • How do the acoustic and physiological properties of speech inform our theories of natural language and/or language processing?
  • What role does human neurobiology play in shaping the various grammatical properties of language?
  • How does language develop in natural learning contexts across the life-span?
  • What social and cultural factors underlie language variation and change?

Because NSF's mandate is to support basic research, the Linguistics Program does not fund research that takes as its primary goal improved clinical practice or applied policy, nor does it support work to develop or assess pedagogical methods or tools for language instruction.

The Linguistics Program accepts proposals for a variety of project types: research proposals from scholars with PhDs or equivalent degrees, proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (LING-DDRI) awards, and CAREER proposals. We will also consider proposals for conferences. Funding requests for conference support should be submitted in accordance with the Conference Proposals section of Chapter II of NSF's Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

NSF's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and in collaboration with programs in other NSF Directorates, supports efforts to develop and advance knowledge and infrastructure that will enable the analysis of languages that are both understudied and at risk of falling out of use. In recognition of the critical relevance of these languages to understanding the range and limits of human linguistic and cultural variation, BCS accepts research and dissertation proposals in response to solicitations NSF Dynamic Language Infrastructure - NEH Documenting Endangered Languages (DLI-DEL) and Dynamic Language Infrastructure - Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DLI-DDRI).

For more information about Multidisciplinary Research and Training Opportunities, please visit the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities web site.

Program contacts

Mary Paster
Program Director
mpaster@nsf.gov (703) 292-2762 SBE/BCS
Jorge Valdes Kroff
Program Director
jvaldesk@nsf.gov (703) 292-7920 SBE/BCS
Kenyatta Johnson
Program Specialist
kenjohns@nsf.gov (703) 292-4850 SBE/BCS

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program