How to do research in Linguistics

Library resources for researchers working on phonetics, syntax, morphology, semantics, historical linguistics


Topic-specific keywords will help improve your results in a general multidisciplinary database like Google, Google Scholar, HOLLIS, or Academic Search Premier

Add keywords like these to your search:

  • language and languages
  • phonetics
  • morphology
  • semantics
  • syntax
  • neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, etc.


The best tool for your project may be a specialized search engine, also known as a database. These databases are subject-specific or format-specific search tools:

ASL-Lex - A database of lexical and phonological properties of American Sign Language signs.

TalkBank – Contains data collected by hundreds of researchers in order to foster fundamental research in the study of human communication with an emphasis on spoken communication.

Linguistics and language behavior abstracts (LLBA) (via HarvardKey) - The main database for scholarship in linguistics. International in scope. Covers phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics as well as descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical, and geographical linguistics.

Dig Deeper

Indo-European Linguistics is an excellent guide to print and electronic resources for the study of Indo-European linguistics.


Jess Cohen-Tanugi, the library liaison to Linguistics, is available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation.

Service Alert:
  • Some Harvard Library locations will be closed or have special hours for Commencement, Thursday, May 26. Please check the Library Hours page for specifics. Ask a Librarian and chat hours will remain as usual.
  • Most Harvard Library locations will be closed Monday, May 30 and Tuesday, May 31, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Ask a Librarian and chat service will be closed on these dates.
  • If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



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Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

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