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