Linguistics has a celebrated history at Sydney, beginning with the appointment of the field linguist Arthur Capell in Anthropology in the 1940s. The Department of Linguistics was founded in 1975 with Michael Halliday as Foundation Chair. It has teaching and research strengths in analysis of media discourse, anthropological linguistics, applied linguistics, corpus linguistics, educational linguistics, functional grammar, language acquisition, syntactic theory and TESOL. It has formal affiliations with colleagues in a wide range of language programs, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) and the Faculty of Education and Social Work.
In December 2012, the latest Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) audit, a comprehensive national research assessment exercise that measures research quality within Australia's higher education institutions using a combination of indicators and expert review, ranked the linguistics field of research at the University of Sydney a 4, indicating research performance above world-class standard.