The first question a Linguistics major gets asked when s/he tells someone his/her major is, "How many languages do you speak?" My personal response is "none." Linguistics is a very broad concept involving every aspect of language in general, including cognitive, phonetic, phonemic, syntax, semantics, acquisition, and many other things...Linguistics, like programming and Philosophy, is much better when alcohol is involved, especially Guiness.

Linguistics... has many facets. You can study phonology or syntax or semantics or any number of other subfields. It's all about understanding how language works; of course, like psychology and sociology and the other social sciences, it's hard to tell for sure, so you get people spouting random things, such as Noam Chomsky, who is to linguistics as Freud was to psychology (take that as you will).

Repository of nodes concerning the far-flung reaches of the science of
linguistics. Add on as you create.

Anyone who can categorize these better is welcome to do so. Contact me.




Linguistics is the science of language, or the academic study of language.

As language is to communication, so linguistics is to semiotics. Linguistics is a branch of semiotics, in other words. This formal hierarchy overlooks or, at least, obscures the problem of language use for purposes other than communication, such as phatic communion, a term coined by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. Most linguists study only the natural language of human beings, so Linguistics could easily be considered a branch of anthropology.

Lin*guis"tics (?), n. [Cf. F. linguistique.]

The science of languages, or of the origin, signification, and application of words; glossology.


© Webster 1913.

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