Linguistics

Table of contents

Linguistics is the scientific study of language; is concerned with the nature of language and communication. It deals both with the study of particular languages, and the search for general properties common to all languages or large groups of languages. It includes the following subareas:

  • phonetics (the study of the production, acoustics and hearing of speech sounds)
  • phonology (the patterning of sounds)
  • morphology (the structure of words)
  • syntax (the structure of sentences)
  • semantics (meaning)
  • pragmatics (language in context)

It also includes explorations into the nature of language variation (i. e., dialects), language change over time, how language is processed and stored in the brain, and how it is acquired by young children.

Linguists are researchers dedicated to the systematic study of language who apply the scientific method by making observations, testing hypotheses, and developing theories. The science of language encompasses more than sounds, grammar, and meaning. Linguists conduct formal studies of speech sounds, grammatical structures, and meaning across all the world’s over 6,000 languages. They also investigate the history of and changes within language families and how language is acquired when we are infants. Linguists examine the relationship between written and spoken language as well as the underlying neural structures that enable us to use language.

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