The Department was established in 1972 through the initiative of Professor Rohini Kumar Mahanta. Prof Mahanta had trained at the School of Oriental and African Studies where he completed his Ph.D. in Firthian Phonology under the supervision of Prof. Eugenie Henderson. For about eight years since the inception the department ran a one-year PG Diploma course in Linguistics. In 1980, this was replaced by a two-year M.A. course in Linguistics.

Linguistics was introduced as an elective subject at the undergraduate level from 1995.

In 2001, the Department collaborated with the allied department of English Language Teaching to run a joint M.A. programme called LELT (Linguistics and English Language Teaching) with a provision for interdisciplinary intake.

In recent years, the department has worked collaboratively with linguists from international organizations such as Summer Institute of Linguistics, RCLT of La Trobe University, Australia, CNRS, Paris & University of Oregon, USA. Such collaborations have resulted in a training workshop on linguistics software and opportunities for students to conduct linguistic fieldwork under the guidance of Australian and American scholars.

The Department of Linguistics aims at promoting the intrinsic and scientific study of language, with particular focus on the structure of the indigenous languages of Assam, including Assamese.

It seeks to foster, promote and establish a sound tradition of documentation, description and analysis of the indigenous languages of the linguistically rich and diverse region of Assam, through teaching, research, training, consultancy and collaboration with institutions at the regional, national and international levels.

Old Departmental Data

The department offers two postgraduate courses in Linguistics - Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Linguistics.

The Department promotes research on select areas of the Assamese language within the framework of descriptive linguistics. An additional area of focus for research in recent years is literacy and language education, including mother tongue based multilingual education.

Postgraduate Course

Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate MA in Linguistics Linguistics 4 2 10

This course seeks to develop capacity in language documentation, description and analysis of the indigenous languages of Assam and the rest of the Northeast India.

Course Type: Course Name: Subject: Semesters Years Intake Capacity:
Postgraduate PhD in Linguistics Linguistics

Ph.D. research seeks to build further on the attainments at the PG level by prioritizing specific topics, themes and areas relating to the documentation and research needs of the region.


Jyotiprakash Tamuli [ Head of the Department, Director IQAC ]
MA (Pune) PhD (Reading) Assamese linguistics, Language education

Assistant Professors

Gitanjali Bez
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Medieval Assamese Linguistics
Krishna Boro
MA (Gauhati), PhD (Oregon) Tibeto-Burman linguistics, Descriptive linguistics, Language documentation
Seuji Sharma
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Assamese Grammar
Ali Mirzavand (A phonological study of English spoken by Persian speakers at tertiary level: an applied linguistic study)
Asifa Begum (Tense and aspect in Assamese: a corpus-based study)
Nibedita Sarma (Interrogatives in Asamiya)
Prafulla Basumatary (The Bodo verb) RGNF
Subhash Rabha (Initial literacy measures for Assamese learners) UGC-JRF


Department of Linguistics
Gauhati University, Guwahati 781014, Assam
Phone : (+91) 9435042679
Email :
Web   :



Computer Lab

The department has computers with specialized software for linguistic analysis and language data organization.

AV recorders

High quality audio and video (AV) equipment for linguistic data collection are available for use in the department.


North East Indian Linguistics Society (NEILS)

In late 2005, JyotiprakashTamuli, along with two other linguists working on languages of N.E. India -- Stephen Morey (Centre for Research on Language Diversity, La Trobe University, Australia) and Mark Post (School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Australia) – decided to set up the North East Indian Linguistics Society (NEILS). As a part of the activities of NEILS, it was decided to hold an international conference in early 2006 at Gauhati University with the Department of Linguistics as the local host. This conference was intended to serve as a common platform for local scholars and linguists from overseas for exchanging ideas on the languages of the region.

Since the first conference of 2006, NEILS has organised six other international conferences on the languages of North East India.

The outcome of the conferences has been a series of five peer-reviewed publications entitled North East Indian Linguistics (Vol 1-5) Published by Foundation Books and Cambridge University Press (India). These publications carry a selection of research papers presented at the various NEILS conferences and offer a up-to-date perspective on a range of issues concerning the languages of the region that will be of interest to researchers in the area.

Back to top