Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure.
The part of linguistics that is concerned with the structure of language is divided into a number of subfields:
Phonetics: the study of speech sounds in their physical aspects
Phonology: the study of speech sounds in their cognitive aspects
Morphology: the study of the formation of words
Syntax: the study of the formation of sentences
Semantics: the study of meaning
Pragmatics: the study of language use
Aside from language structure, other perspectives on language are represented in specialized or interdisciplinary branches:
Ethnolinguistics (or Anthropological Linguistics)
Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics
Language is one of the key things that makes us human. Only humans use language to it's full potential. Even though apes and other animals can be taught aspects of language, they can never grasp it in the same way humans can.
Linguistics incorporates so many fields of study. A study of Linguistics can also be a study of history - why certain peoples used certain words or phrases gives insight into what the world was like for them.
When you study linguistics you also look at sociology. You can see the difference in social spheres based on the way people speak, or the way people attempt to change their speech.
A study of Linguistics can also be a study of philosophy. The study of semantics asks questions about meaning - why do words mean what they mean? How is meaning encoded in words?
Linguistics is the study of culture. You can learn all about a culture and it's religions and it's values based on the way it speaks and communicates and writes.
Linguistics can incorporate psychology and neuroscience. You can look at the brain and how it is wired for language and communication. You can study language acquisition and how it can be impaired, or how it can affect brain function in later life.
A linguist can look at politics, the way the control of language can control people. Linguists can look at propaganda, or at political speeches, and study the way these things influence people.
Linguists can study art, the way words can be combined to represent profound concepts
Linguistics, in my opinion, is the ultimate combination between the sciences and the humanities. It incorporates history, politics, art, philosophy, psychology, and culture.
Like said above, only humans use language, and only humans can use language to talk about language. Ultimately, linguistics is the study of humans.
International curriculum design teacher
Language research method
Introduction to Teaching Chinese/English as a Foreign Language
Common skills gained from this degree
- Knowledge of linguistics
- Verbal skills
- Writing skills
- Language analysis
- Certain research and exploration spirit