What is language research?

It’s not just using Google Translate to understand foreign phrases. Research itself is about asking and explaining. It’s about finding the why. For example,

  • How do adults learn a second (third, fourth, or even fifth) language?
  • What goes on in the brain when we try to learn a foreign language and how can we improve the way we learn?
  • What kind of technology can we create to make language learning easier, faster, and less expensive?
  • What can we learn about the cultural and social aspects of language by looking more closely at what people say and how they say it?

Language research encompasses multiple disciplines. At CASL, our core areas are cognitive neuroscience and psychology, second language acquisition, decision science, linguistics, and computer science. But we don’t depend on these disciplines alone. Our researchers have interdisciplinary interests that support our mission: to advance the nation’s capabilities in language, culture, analysis, learning, and human performance by producing independently validated solutions.

Why does CASL exist?

September 11, 2001, caused a dramatic shift in government priority and need. As the Department of Defense (DoD) grappled with new challenges, comprehensive language preparedness became a critical necessity. Founded in 2003 as a DoD university affiliated research center (UARC) with a nationally recognized research staff, the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) is the first and only national resource dedicated to addressing the language needs of the Intelligence Community (IC).

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