Linguistics is the scientific study of human language.[1][2] It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language,[3] particularly its nature and structure.[4] Linguistics is concerned with both the cognitive and social aspects of language. It is considered a scientific field as well as an academic discipline;[5] it has been classified as a social science,[6] natural science,[7] cognitive science,[8] or part of the humanities.

Traditional areas of linguistic analysis correspond to phenomena found in human linguistic systems, such as syntax (rules governing the structure of sentences); semantics (meaning); morphology (structure of words); phonetics (speech sounds and equivalent gestures in sign languages); phonology (the abstract sound system of a particular language); and pragmatics (how social context contributes to meaning).[9] Subdisciplines such as biolinguistics (the study of the biological variables and evolution of language) and psycholinguistics (the study of psychological factors in human language) bridge many of these divisions.[10]

Linguistics encompasses many branches and subfields that span both theoretical and practical applications.[5] Theoretical linguistics (including traditional descriptive linguistics) is concerned with understanding the fundamental nature of language and developing a general theoretical framework for describing it.[11] Applied linguistics seeks to utilise the scientific findings of the study of language for practical purposes, such as developing methods of improving language education and literacy.[12]

Linguistic phenomena may be studied through a variety of perspectives: synchronically (describing a language at a specific point of time) or diachronically (through historical development); in monolinguals or multilinguals; children or adults; as they are learned or already acquired; as abstract objects or cognitive structures; through texts or oral elicitation; and through mechanical data collection versus fieldwork.[13]

Linguistics is related to philosophy of language, stylistics and rhetorics, semiotics, lexicography, and translation; philology, from which linguistics emerged, is variably described as a related field, a subdiscipline, or to have been superseded altogether.[14]

  1. ^ Halliday, Michael A.K.; Jonathan Webster (2006). On Language and Linguistics. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. vii. ISBN 978-0-8264-8824-4.
  2. ^ "What is Linguistics? | Linguistic Society of America". Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  3. ^ Crystal, David (1981). Clinical linguistics. Wien: Springer-Verlag. p. 3. ISBN 978-3-7091-4001-7. OCLC 610496980. What are the implications of the term "science" encountered in the definition on p. 1? Four aims of the scientific approach to language, often cited in introductory works on the subject, are comprehensiveness, objectivity, systematicness and precision. The contrast is usually drawn with the essentially non-scientific approach of traditional language studies—by which is meant the whole history of ideas about language from Plato and Aristotle down to the nineteenth century study of language history (comparative philology).
  4. ^ "Concepts, origin, and Noam Chomsky's contribution to linguistics | Britannica". Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Studying Linguistics | Linguistic Society of America". Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Social Science Majors, University of Saskatchewan". Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  7. ^ Boeckx, Cedric. "Language as a Natural Object; Linguistics as a Natural Science" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2010.
  8. ^ Thagard, Paul, Cognitive Science, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  9. ^ Adrian Akmajian, Richard A. Demers, Ann K. Farmer, Robert M. Harnish (2010). Linguistics (6th ed.). The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-51370-8. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Linguistics Program - Linguistics Program | University of South Carolina".
  11. ^ "Theoretical Linguistics".
  12. ^ "The Fields of Applied Linguistics".
  13. ^ Francis, Alexandre. Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. SAGE Publishing. pp. 184–187. ISBN 9781412999632.
  14. ^ "Philosophy of Linguistics". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. 2022.

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