The history of this department dates from 1975-76 session when what is now known, as the University of Calabar was still a campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Even in 1975, when the University of Calabar was statutorily established, the department was still called Department of Modern languages offering a degree programme in French with German as subsidiary. In 1977, the Department was enlarged and renamed the Department of Languages and Linguistics. Thus, Linguistics as a discipline was formerly introduced in the University of Calabar.
Originally, the Department was housed in a two – storey building in the main campus (Duke Town Campus). It was later moved to the former block where the Department of Theatre Arts was Located. Later, It came back to the storey building before moving in 1993 to a 14 room bungalow formally housing the Faculty of Law. As the University Campus expanded towards the Library, the Department moved to its present location (Abubakar Rimi Building) in 2000.
Presently, the Department's Accommodation has further expanded to the ground floor of the newly commissioned Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw Indigenous Languages Building. In 2002, the department of Languages and Linguistics was bifurcated into two autonomous Departments; Department of Modern Languages and Translation Studies and Department of Linguistics
In 2007, the Department of Linguistics got full accreditation from the National University Commission (NUC) for its Communication Studies programme thus heralding the birth of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies. The Department had played host to a few world Class Scholars like Nick Faraclas, E; Makward, Philip Noss, R. Vandamali, etc.
A greater percentage of the products of the Department are leaders and shapers of the industry in Education, media, public service entertainment, and business. The Department has grown in strength student-wise, rising from only 4 in 1977/78 session to over 450 students in 2014/2015 session.