What is Linguistics?

Linguistics

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Finding meaning in signs…

Linguistics is the scientific and academic study of language. It tries to answer basic questions such as

  • What is language?
  • How is language represented in the mind?
  • How does language work?

The underlying goal of linguists is to discover the underlying rules of all languages; that is, the common elements which form a language.

Of course, the person who studies linguistics is known as a linguist.

Areas of Study

General Linguistics is the study of

  • grammar – the rules which govern how language is put together
  • semantics – the meaning of words & language
  • morphology‏‎ – how words are formed
  • syntax – how sentences are formed
  • phonology‏‎ – sound patterns in language
  • phonetics‏‎ – the production/perception of sounds

Applied Linguistics is the study of the way in which language is used and looks at areas such as

  • teaching methodologies – different approaches to teaching language
  • second language acquisition‏‎ – how languages are learnt
  • speech therapy and pathology

In addition, there are specialist fields such as:

  • computational linguistics – studying language using technology
  • corpus linguistics – the study of language by comparing corpora (usually with computers)
  • psycholinguistics – the psychology involved in language
 

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