what is linguistics

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics has been defined as the scientific study of language.

    But What is Language?

    Language has been defined differently according to various schools of linguistics.

    Chomsky sees languages as a natural object, a component of the human mind, physically represented in the brain, and part of the biological endowment of the species (Barman, B., 2012, p. 112).

    Halliday (founder of Systemic Functional Linguistics, SFL) views language as “a system of meanings, accompanied by forms through which the meanings can be realised. … Systemic theory is a theory of meaning as choice, by which a language, or any other semiotic system, is interpreted as networks of interlocking options: either this, or that, or the other” (Halliday, 1985, p. xiv).

    Areas of Linguistics

    Linguists study various areas of language. These are the most common:

    syntax (the arrangement and ordering of words within a sentence); 

    semantics (the study of the meaning of words, phrases, or sentences); 

    morphology (internal structure of words); 

    phonetics (the study of speech sounds); 

    phonology (the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language); 

    pragmatics (the study of what speakers mean, or “speaker meaning”)

    The significance of the study of language has led to the emergence of various interesting interdisciplinary fields of study:

    Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Sociolinguistics, Computational Linguistics, Ethnolinguistics,…

    What is the origin of Language?

    In the following video, I have addressed several speculations and theories regarding how languages emerged.


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