What is linguistics?
Linguistics is the study of language – not just particular languages, but the system of human communication. Some of the basic issues of this field are?
applied linguistics: application to areas such as speech pathology, reading, social work, missionary work, translation, dictionary compilation, language teaching, error analysis, computer language processing.
dialectology: investigation of regional variation in language.
ethnolinguistics (anthropological linguistics): investigation of the relation between a people's language and culture.
historical (diachronic) linguistics: study of language change and evolution.
morphology: study of word formation and inflection.
neurolinguistics: research into the specific location of language in the brain.
paralinguistics: study of nonverbal (auxiliary) human communication.
philology: study of how language has been used in literature, especially in older manuscripts.
phonetics: description of how speech sounds are articulated and heard.
phonology: study of how languages organize the units of speech into systems.
pragmatics: study of the strategies people use to carry out communicative business in specific contexts.
psycholinguistics: investigation of language as cognitively-based behavior; how it is acquired and processed.
second language acquisition (SLA): study of how older learners acquire language, and of ways to improve it.
sociolinguistics: study of social variation in language: the relation between social structure and language usage, and of social issues involving language.
semantics: study of word and sentence meaning.
syntax: study of the structure of sentences and of underlying principles for generating and processing them.
Many students find linguistics useful because it broadens and deepens their understanding of related fields: languages and literature (English and foreign), social sciences (especially anthropology, sociology, and psychology), education, philosophy, communication... Those who obtain degrees in linguistics often proceed to careers in:
Click here for information on how to get phonetic symbols for linguistic work on your computer.
Click here for a listing of links I recommend for more information (Linguistic Society of America, International Phonetic Association, etc.)
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