The Forbes Chair of English Language and General Linguistics was instituted in 1947. A discrete Lectureship in General Linguistics was created in 1958, and in 1964 a Chair of General Linguistics was established. The Chair of English Language and General Linguistics was renamed the Chair of English Language, and a separate Department of General Linguistics was set up in 1966.
Meanwhile, a Department of Phonetics has been established under David Abercombie (1909-1992) (Lecturer in Phonetics from 1948, Reader from 1957, Personal Chair in Phonetics from 1964, Established Chair in Phonetics from 1967). In 1968, the Departments of Phonetics and General Linguistics merged to become the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics.
A Lectureship and Department of Applied Linguistics was established under Stephen Pit Corder (1918-1990) in 1964. In 1969, this merged with the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics to become the Department of Linguistics. In 1986, Applied Linguistics again became a separate department, and a Chair of Advanced Linguistics was established in 1995. It reunited with Linguistics in 1999 to become the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics.
Following major restructuring of Edinburgh University in 2002, the teaching of Linguistics was transferred from the Faculty of Arts to the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences of the College of Humanities and Social Science.
Professors of General Linguistics
- 1964-1976: Sir John Lyons (1932- )
- 1979-2007: James R. Hurford (1941- )
- 2007- : Geoffrey Keith Pullum (1945- )
Professors of Phonetics
Professors of Applied Linguistics
- 1996- : John E. Joseph
(S. Pit Corder and Alan Davies had previously held Personal Chairs in Advanced Linguistics from 1970 to 1983 and from 1992 to 1995 respectively.)