The Centre for Linguistics is one of the leading centres for linguistics and language studies in India. The Centre focuses on core areas such as phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax, as well as on areas in interdisciplinary language studies such as neuro-cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. The Centre is known for having had expertise in Field Methods, Semiotics and Indian linguistic tradition for the past several years. Some of the other areas of research by the faculty include language typology and sign language, with bio-linguistics being an emerging area of some common interest. The research conducted in the centre has resulted in descriptive grammars of some of the lesser known languages of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic including Munda, Tibeto-Burman and Andamanese. See the page on Languages that the teachers and students have researched on. The centre has large field-based corpora on tribal and marginalized languages practically from every language family of India..
The Centre in its present form was constituted in 2005, but had existed since 1974 as a group of Linguistics which merged with the Group of English and constituted the Centre of Linguistics and English in 1978. The Centre has an intake of 20 M.A., 14 M. Phil. and 3 direct Ph.D. students every year. The M.A. programme gives students a grounding in the foundational courses in theoretical and applied linguistics as well as it trains students in writing grammars, dictionaries and sociolinguistic profiles of a speech community. The Centre for Linguistics is the only centre in the country that facilitates field research in the remote areas at M.A. level.
The M. Phil / Ph.D. programme is a rich and rewarding research programme open to post-graduate students from any discipline. Apart from the post-graduate courses, the Centre also offers 2-3 optional and tool courses in linguistics to undergraduate students of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies every semester.
The selection process followed for Indian students and foreign students in India is that of JNU as a whole, which holds entrance tests at around 65 centres in India and the neighboring countries including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Applications from foreign students from abroad are considered through the office of the Coordinator directly by the Centre on the basis of merit.
The Centre shares facilities of digital language labs with other Centres of the School. It also has software for experimental phonetic studies and neuro-cognitive studies, and will have from the Monsoon Semester 2007 a well-equipped computer class-room.