Linguistics

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Linguistics is the scientific study of language. [1] It involves analysing language form, language meaning, and language in context. [2] Linguists traditionally analyse human language by observing an interplay between sound and meaning. [3] Linguistics also deals with the social, cultural, historical and political factors that influence language, through which linguistic and language-based context is often determined. [4] Research on language through the sub-branches of historical and evolutionary linguistics also focuses on how languages change and grow, particularly over an extended period of time.

Contents

The earliest activities in the documentation and description of language have been attributed to the 6th-century-BC Indian grammarian Pāṇini [5] [6] who wrote a formal description of the Sanskrit language in his Aṣṭādhyāyī. [7]

Related areas of study include the disciplines of semiotics (the study of direct and indirect language through signs and symbols), literary criticism (the historical and ideological analysis of literature, cinema, art, or published material), translation (the conversion and documentation of meaning in written/spoken text from one language or dialect onto another), and speech-language pathology (a corrective method to cure phonetic disabilities and dis-functions at the cognitive level).

Nomenclature

Before the 20th century, the term philology , first attested in 1716, [8] was commonly used to refer to the study of language, which was then predominantly historical in focus. [9] [10] Since Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis, however, this focus has shifted [11] and the term philology is now generally used for the "study of a language's grammar, history, and literary tradition", especially in the United States [12] (where philology has never been very popularly considered as the "science of language"). [8]

Although the term "linguist" in the sense of "a student of language" dates from 1641, [13] the term "linguistics" is first attested in 1847. [13] It is now the usual term in English for the scientific study of language,[ citation needed ] though linguistic science is sometimes used.

Linguistics is a multi-disciplinary field of research that combines tools from natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. [14] [15] [16] Many linguists, such as David Crystal, conceptualize the field as being primarily scientific. [17] The term linguist applies to someone who studies language or is a researcher within the field, or to someone who uses the tools of the discipline to describe and analyse specific languages. [18]

Variation and universality

While some theories on linguistics focus on the different varieties that language produces, among different sections of society, others focus on the universal properties that are common to all human languages. The theory of variation therefore would elaborate on the different usages of popular languages like French and English across the globe, as well as its smaller dialects and regional permutations within their national boundaries. The theory of variation looks at the cultural stages that a particular language undergoes, and these include the following.

Pidgin

The pidgin stage in a language is a stage when communication occurs through a grammatically simplified means, developing between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. Typically, it is a mixture of languages at the stage when there occurs a mixing between a primary language with other language elements.

Creole

A creole stage in language occurs when there is a stable natural language developed from a mixture of different languages. It is a stage that occurs after a language undergoes its pidgin stage. At the creole stage, a language is a complete language, used in a community and acquired by children as their native language.

Dialect

A dialect is a variety of language that is characteristic of a particular group among the language speakers. [19] The group of people who are the speakers of a dialect are usually bound to each other by social identity. This is what differentiates a dialect from a register or a discourse, where in the latter case, cultural identity does not always play a role. Dialects are speech varieties that have their own grammatical and phonological rules, linguistic features, and stylistic aspects, but have not been given an official status as a language. Dialects often move on to gain the status of a language due to political and social reasons. Other times, dialects remain marginalized, particularly when they are associated with marginalized social groups. [20] [ page needed ] Differentiation amongst dialects (and subsequently, languages too) is based upon the use of grammatical rules, syntactic rules, and stylistic features, though not always on lexical use or vocabulary. The popular saying that "a language is a dialect with an army and navy" is attributed as a definition formulated by Max Weinreich.

"We may as individuals be rather fond of our own dialect. This should not make us think, though, that it is actually any better than any other dialect. Dialects are not good or bad, nice or nasty, right or wrong – they are just different from one another, and it is the mark of a civilised society that it tolerates different dialects just as it tolerates different races, religions and sexes." [21]

Discourse

Discourse is language as social practice (Baynham, 1995) and is a multilayered concept. As a social practice, discourse embodies different ideologies through written and spoken texts. Discourse analysis can examine or expose these ideologies. Discourse influences genre, which is chosen in response to different situations and finally, at micro level, discourse influences language as text (spoken or written) at the phonological or lexico-grammatical level. Grammar and discourse are linked as parts of a system. [22] A particular discourse becomes a language variety when it is used in this way for a particular purpose, and is referred to as a register. [23] There may be certain lexical additions (new words) that are brought into play because of the expertise of the community of people within a certain domain of specialization. Registers and discourses therefore differentiate themselves through the use of vocabulary, and at times through the use of style too. People in the medical fraternity, for example, may use some medical terminology in their communication that is specialized to the field of medicine. This is often referred to as being part of the "medical discourse", and so on.

Standard language

When a dialect is documented sufficiently through the linguistic description of its grammar, which has emerged through the consensual laws from within its community, it gains political and national recognition through a country or region's policies. That is the stage when a language is considered a standard variety, one whose grammatical laws have now stabilised from within the consent of speech community participants, after sufficient evolution, improvisation, correction, and growth. The English language, besides perhaps the French language, may be examples of languages that have arrived at a stage where they are said to have become standard varieties.

The study of a language's universal properties, on the other hand, include some of the following concepts.

Lexicon

The lexicon is a catalogue of words and terms that are stored in a speaker's mind. The lexicon consists of words and bound morphemes, which are parts of words that can't stand alone, like affixes. In some analyses, compound words and certain classes of idiomatic expressions and other collocations are also considered to be part of the lexicon. Dictionaries represent attempts at listing, in alphabetical order, the lexicon of a given language; usually, however, bound morphemes are not included. Lexicography, closely linked with the domain of semantics, is the science of mapping the words into an encyclopedia or a dictionary. The creation and addition of new words (into the lexicon) is called coining or neologization, [24] and the new words are called neologisms.

It is often believed that a speaker's capacity for language lies in the quantity of words stored in the lexicon. However, this is often considered a myth by linguists. The capacity for the use of language is considered by many linguists to lie primarily in the domain of grammar, and to be linked with competence, rather than with the growth of vocabulary. Even a very small lexicon is theoretically capable of producing an infinite number of sentences.

Relativity

As constructed popularly through the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, relativists believe that the structure of a particular language is capable of influencing the cognitive patterns through which a person shapes his or her world view. Universalists believe that there are commonalities between human perception as there is in the human capacity for language, while relativists believe that this varies from language to language and person to person. While the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is an elaboration of this idea expressed through the writings of American linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, it was Sapir's student Harry Hoijer who termed it thus. The 20th century German linguist Leo Weisgerber also wrote extensively about the theory of relativity. Relativists argue for the case of differentiation at the level of cognition and in semantic domains. The emergence of cognitive linguistics in the 1980s also revived an interest in linguistic relativity. Thinkers like George Lakoff have argued that language reflects different cultural metaphors, while the French philosopher of language Jacques Derrida's writings have been seen to be closely associated with the relativist movement in linguistics, especially through deconstruction [25] and was even heavily criticized in the media at the time of his death for his theory of relativism. [26]

Structures

Linguistic structures are pairings of meaning and form. Any particular pairing of meaning and form is a Saussurean sign. For instance, the meaning "cat" is represented worldwide with a wide variety of different sound patterns (in oral languages), movements of the hands and face (in sign languages), and written symbols (in written languages). Linguistic patterns have proven their importance for the knowledge engineering field especially with the ever-increasing amount of available data.

Linguists focusing on structure attempt to understand the rules regarding language use that native speakers know (not always consciously). All linguistic structures can be broken down into component parts that are combined according to (sub)conscious rules, over multiple levels of analysis. For instance, consider the structure of the word "tenth" on two different levels of analysis. On the level of internal word structure (known as morphology), the word "tenth" is made up of one linguistic form indicating a number and another form indicating ordinality. The rule governing the combination of these forms ensures that the ordinality marker "th" follows the number "ten." On the level of sound structure (known as phonology), structural analysis shows that the "n" sound in "tenth" is made differently from the "n" sound in "ten" spoken alone. Although most speakers of English are consciously aware of the rules governing internal structure of the word pieces of "tenth", they are less often aware of the rule governing its sound structure. Linguists focused on structure find and analyze rules such as these, which govern how native speakers use language.

Grammar

Grammar is a system of rules which governs the production and use of utterances in a given language. These rules apply to sound [27] as well as meaning, and include componential subsets of rules, such as those pertaining to phonology (the organisation of phonetic sound systems), morphology (the formation and composition of words), and syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and sentences). [28] Modern frameworks that deal with the principles of grammar include structural and functional linguistics, and generative linguistics. [29]

Sub-fields that focus on a grammatical study of language include the following.

Style

Stylistics also involves the study of written, signed, or spoken discourse through varying speech communities, genres, and editorial or narrative formats in the mass media. [32] It involves the study and interpretation of texts for aspects of their linguistic and tonal style. Stylistic analysis entails the analysis of description of particular dialects and registers used by speech communities. Stylistic features include rhetoric, [33] diction, stress, satire, irony, dialogue, and other forms of phonetic variations. Stylistic analysis can also include the study of language in canonical works of literature, popular fiction, news, advertisements, and other forms of communication in popular culture as well. It is usually seen as a variation in communication that changes from speaker to speaker and community to community. In short, Stylistics is the interpretation of text.

In the 1960s, Jacques Derrida, for instance, further distinguished between speech and writing, by proposing that written language be studied as a linguistic medium of communication in itself. [34] Palaeography is therefore the discipline that studies the evolution of written scripts (as signs and symbols) in language. [35] The formal study of language also led to the growth of fields like psycholinguistics, which explores the representation and function of language in the mind; neurolinguistics, which studies language processing in the brain; biolinguistics, which studies the biology and evolution of language; and language acquisition, which investigates how children and adults acquire the knowledge of one or more languages.

Approaches

Humanistic

A semiotic tradition of linguistic research considers language as arising from the interaction of a semantic system and a sign system. [36] The organisation of linguistic levels is considered computational. [37] Linguistics is essentially seen as relating to social and cultural studies because different languages are shaped in social interaction by the speech community. [38] Frameworks representing the humanistic view of language include structural linguistics, among others.

Structural analysis means dissecting each linguistic level: phonetic, morphological, syntactic, and discourse, to the smallest units, and reconnecting them with structures within a hierarchy of structures and layers. [39] Functional analysis adds to structural analysis the assignment of semantic and other functional roles that each unit may have, including semantic and pragmatic. [40]

Functional linguistics, or functional grammar, is a branch of structural linguistics. In the humanistic reference, the terms structuralism and functionalism are related to their meaning in other human sciences. The difference between formal and functional structuralism lies in the way that the two approaches explain why languages have the properties they have. Functional explanation entails the idea that language is a tool for communication, or that communication is the primary function of language. Linguistic forms are consequently explained by an appeal to their functional value, or usefulness. Other structuralist approaches take the perspective that form follows from the inner mechanisms of the binary or multilayered language system. [41]

Biological

Other linguistics frameworks take as their starting point the notion that language is a biological phenomenon in humans. Generative Grammar is the study of an innate linguistic structure. [42] In contrast to structural linguistics, Generative Grammar rejects the notion that meaning and social interaction affect language. [43] Instead, all human languages are based on a crystallised structure which may have been caused by a mutation exclusively in humans. [44] The study of linguistics is considered as the study of this hypothesised structure. [45]

Cognitive Linguistics, in contrast, rejects the notion of innate grammar, and studies the impact of cognitive constraints and biases on human language. [46] Objects of study include frames, idealised cognitive models, and memes. [47] A closely related approach is evolutionary linguistics [48] which includes the study of linguistic units as cultural replicators. [49] [50] It is possible to study how language replicates and adapts to the mind of the individual or the speech community. [51] [52]

The generative versus evolutionary approach are sometimes called formalism and functionalism, respectively. [53] This reference is however different from the use of the terms in human sciences. [54]

Methodology

Linguistics is primarily descriptive. [2] Linguists describe and explain features of language without making subjective judgments on whether a particular feature or usage is "good" or "bad". This is analogous to practice in other sciences: a zoologist studies the animal kingdom without making subjective judgments on whether a particular species is "better" or "worse" than another.

Prescription, on the other hand, is an attempt to promote particular linguistic usages over others, often favouring a particular dialect or "acrolect". This may have the aim of establishing a linguistic standard, which can aid communication over large geographical areas. It may also, however, be an attempt by speakers of one language or dialect to exert influence over speakers of other languages or dialects (see Linguistic imperialism). An extreme version of prescriptivism can be found among censors, who attempt to eradicate words and structures that they consider to be destructive to society. Prescription, however, may be practised appropriately in language instruction, like in ELT, where certain fundamental grammatical rules and lexical items need to be introduced to a second-language speaker who is attempting to acquire the language.

Anthropology

The objective of describing languages is often to uncover cultural knowledge about communities. The use of anthropological methods of investigation on linguistic sources leads to the discovery of certain cultural traits among a speech community through its linguistic features. It is also widely used as a tool in language documentation, with an endeavour to curate endangered languages. However, linguistic inquiry now uses the anthropological method to understand cognitive, historical, sociolinguistic and historical processes that languages undergo as they change and evolve, as well as general anthropological inquiry uses the linguistic method to excavate into culture. In all aspects, anthropological inquiry usually uncovers the different variations and relativities that underlie the usage of language.

Sources

Most contemporary linguists work under the assumption that spoken data and signed data are more fundamental than written data. This is because

Nonetheless, linguists agree that the study of written language can be worthwhile and valuable. For research that relies on corpus linguistics and computational linguistics, written language is often much more convenient for processing large amounts of linguistic data. Large corpora of spoken language are difficult to create and hard to find, and are typically transcribed and written. In addition, linguists have turned to text-based discourse occurring in various formats of computer-mediated communication as a viable site for linguistic inquiry.

The study of writing systems themselves, graphemics, is, in any case, considered a branch of linguistics.

Analysis

Before the 20th century, linguists analysed language on a diachronic plane, which was historical in focus. This meant that they would compare linguistic features and try to analyse language from the point of view of how it had changed between then and later. However, with Saussurean linguistics in the 20th century, the focus shifted to a more synchronic approach, where the study was more geared towards analysis and comparison between different language variations, which existed at the same given point of time.

At another level, the syntagmatic plane of linguistic analysis entails the comparison between the way words are sequenced, within the syntax of a sentence. For example, the article "the" is followed by a noun, because of the syntagmatic relation between the words. The paradigmatic plane on the other hand, focuses on an analysis that is based on the paradigms or concepts that are embedded in a given text. In this case, words of the same type or class may be replaced in the text with each other to achieve the same conceptual understanding.

History

Early grammarians

The formal study of language began in India with Pāṇini, the 6th century BC grammarian who formulated 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology. Pāṇini's systematic classification of the sounds of Sanskrit into consonants and vowels, and word classes, such as nouns and verbs, was the first known instance of its kind. In the Middle East, Sibawayh, a non-Arab, made a detailed description of Arabic in AD 760 in his monumental work, Al-kitab fi al-nahw (الكتاب في النحو, The Book on Grammar), the first known author to distinguish between sounds and phonemes (sounds as units of a linguistic system). Western interest in the study of languages began somewhat later than in the East, [55] but the grammarians of the classical languages did not use the same methods or reach the same conclusions as their contemporaries in the Indic world. Early interest in language in the West was a part of philosophy, not of grammatical description. The first insights into semantic theory were made by Plato in his Cratylus dialogue, where he argues that words denote concepts that are eternal and exist in the world of ideas. This work is the first to use the word etymology to describe the history of a word's meaning. Around 280 BC, one of Alexander the Great's successors founded a university (see Musaeum) in Alexandria, where a school of philologists studied the ancient texts in and taught Greek to speakers of other languages. While this school was the first to use the word "grammar" in its modern sense, Plato had used the word in its original meaning as "téchnē grammatikḗ" (Τέχνη Γραμματική), the "art of writing", which is also the title of one of the most important works of the Alexandrine school by Dionysius Thrax. [56] Throughout the Middle Ages, the study of language was subsumed under the topic of philology, the study of ancient languages and texts, practised by such educators as Roger Ascham, Wolfgang Ratke, and John Amos Comenius. [57]

Comparative philology

In the 18th century, the first use of the comparative method by William Jones sparked the rise of comparative linguistics. [58] Bloomfield attributes "the first great scientific linguistic work of the world" to Jacob Grimm, who wrote Deutsche Grammatik. [59] It was soon followed by other authors writing similar comparative studies on other language groups of Europe. The study of language was broadened from Indo-European to language in general by Wilhelm von Humboldt, of whom Bloomfield asserts: [59]

This study received its foundation at the hands of the Prussian statesman and scholar Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), especially in the first volume of his work on Kavi, the literary language of Java, entitled Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluß auf die geistige Entwickelung des Menschengeschlechts (On the Variety of the Structure of Human Language and its Influence upon the Mental Development of the Human Race).

20th century developments

There was a shift of focus from historical and comparative linguistics to synchronic analysis in early 20th century. Structural analysis was improved by Leonard Bloomfield, Louis Hjelmslev; and Zellig Harris who also developed methods of discourse analysis. Functional analysis was developed by the Prague linguistic circle and André Martinet. As sound recording devices became commonplace in the 1960s, dialectal recordings were made and archived, and the audio-lingual method provided a technological solution to foreign language learning. The 1960s also saw a new rise of comparative linguistics: the study of language universals in linguistic typology. Towards the end of the century the field of linguistics became divided into further areas of interest with the advent of language technology and digitalised corpora.

Areas of research

Historical linguistics

Historical linguists study the history of specific languages as well as general characteristics of language change. Historical linguistics was among the first sub-disciplines to emerge in linguistics, and was the most widely practised form of linguistics in the late 19th century. There was a shift of focus in the early twentieth century to the synchronic approach (the systemic study of the current stage in languages), but historical research remained a field of linguistic inquiry. It was renamed as diachronic linguistics by Saussure. Subfields include language change and grammaticalisation studies.

Ecolinguistics

Ecolinguistics explores the role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species and the physical environment. The first aim is to develop linguistic theories which see humans not only as part of society, but also as part of the larger ecosystems that life depends on. The second aim is to show how linguistics can be used to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice. [60]

Sociolinguistics

Sociolinguistics is the study of how language is shaped by social factors. This sub-discipline focuses on the synchronic approach of linguistics, and looks at how a language in general, or a set of languages, display variation and varieties at a given point in time. The study of language variation and the different varieties of language through dialects, registers, and ideolects can be tackled through a study of style, as well as through analysis of discourse. Sociolinguists research on both style and discourse in language, and also study the theoretical factors that are at play between language and society.

Developmental linguistics

Developmental linguistics is the study of the development of linguistic ability in individuals, particularly the acquisition of language in childhood. Some of the questions that developmental linguistics looks into is how children acquire different languages, how adults can acquire a second language, and what the process of language acquisition is.

Neurolinguistics

Neurolinguistics is the study of the structures in the human brain that underlie grammar and communication. Researchers are drawn to the field from a variety of backgrounds, bringing along a variety of experimental techniques as well as widely varying theoretical perspectives. Much work in neurolinguistics is informed by models in psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics, and is focused on investigating how the brain can implement the processes that theoretical and psycholinguistics propose are necessary in producing and comprehending language. Neurolinguists study the physiological mechanisms by which the brain processes information related to language, and evaluate linguistic and psycholinguistic theories, using aphasiology, brain imaging, electrophysiology, and computer modelling. Amongst the structures of the brain involved in the mechanisms of neurolinguistics, the cerebellum which contains the highest numbers of neurons has a major role in terms of predictions required to produce language. [61]

Applied linguistics

Linguists are largely concerned with finding and describing the generalities and varieties both within particular languages and among all languages. Applied linguistics takes the results of those findings and "applies" them to other areas. Linguistic research is commonly applied to areas such as language education, lexicography, translation, language planning, which involves governmental policy implementation related to language use, and natural language processing. "Applied linguistics" has been argued to be something of a misnomer. [62] Applied linguists actually focus on making sense of and engineering solutions for real-world linguistic problems, and not literally "applying" existing technical knowledge from linguistics. Moreover, they commonly apply technical knowledge from multiple sources, such as sociology (e.g., conversation analysis) and anthropology. (Constructed language fits under Applied linguistics.)

Today, computers are widely used in many areas of applied linguistics. Speech synthesis and speech recognition use phonetic and phonemic knowledge to provide voice interfaces to computers. Applications of computational linguistics in machine translation, computer-assisted translation, and natural language processing are areas of applied linguistics that have come to the forefront. Their influence has had an effect on theories of syntax and semantics, as modelling syntactic and semantic theories on computers constraints.

Linguistic analysis is a sub-discipline of applied linguistics used by many governments to verify the claimed nationality of people seeking asylum who do not hold the necessary documentation to prove their claim. [63] This often takes the form of an interview by personnel in an immigration department. Depending on the country, this interview is conducted either in the asylum seeker's native language through an interpreter or in an international lingua franca like English. [63] Australia uses the former method, while Germany employs the latter; the Netherlands uses either method depending on the languages involved. [63] Tape recordings of the interview then undergo language analysis, which can be done either by private contractors or within a department of the government. In this analysis, linguistic features of the asylum seeker are used by analysts to make a determination about the speaker's nationality. The reported findings of the linguistic analysis can play a critical role in the government's decision on the refugee status of the asylum seeker. [63]

Interdisciplinary fields

Within the broad discipline of linguistics, various emerging sub-disciplines focus on a more detailed description and analysis of language, and are often organized on the basis of the school of thought and theoretical approach that they pre-suppose, or the external factors that influence them.

Semiotics

Semiotics is the study of sign processes (semiosis), or signification and communication, signs, and symbols, both individually and grouped into sign systems, including the study of how meaning is constructed and understood. Semioticians often do not restrict themselves to linguistic communication when studying the use of signs but extend the meaning of "sign" to cover all kinds of cultural symbols. Nonetheless, semiotic disciplines closely related to linguistics are literary studies, discourse analysis, text linguistics, and philosophy of language. Semiotics, within the linguistics paradigm, is the study of the relationship between language and culture. Historically, Edward Sapir and Ferdinand De Saussure's structuralist theories influenced the study of signs extensively until the late part of the 20th century, but later, post-modern and post-structural thought, through language philosophers including Jacques Derrida, Mikhail Bakhtin, Michel Foucault, and others, have also been a considerable influence on the discipline in the late part of the 20th century and early 21st century. [64] These theories emphasize the role of language variation, and the idea of subjective usage, depending on external elements like social and cultural factors, rather than merely on the interplay of formal elements.

Language documentation

Language documentation combines anthropological inquiry (into the history and culture of language) with linguistic inquiry, in order to describe languages and their grammars. Lexicography involves the documentation of words that form a vocabulary. Such a documentation of a linguistic vocabulary from a particular language is usually compiled in a dictionary. Computational linguistics is concerned with the statistical or rule-based modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. Specific knowledge of language is applied by speakers during the act of translation and interpretation, as well as in language education – the teaching of a second or foreign language. Policy makers work with governments to implement new plans in education and teaching which are based on linguistic research.

Since the inception of the discipline of linguistics, linguists have been concerned with describing and analysing previously undocumented languages. Starting with Franz Boas in the early 1900s, this became the main focus of American linguistics until the rise of formal structural linguistics in the mid-20th century. This focus on language documentation was partly motivated by a concern to document the rapidly disappearing languages of indigenous peoples. The ethnographic dimension of the Boasian approach to language description played a role in the development of disciplines such as sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, and linguistic anthropology, which investigate the relations between language, culture, and society.

The emphasis on linguistic description and documentation has also gained prominence outside North America, with the documentation of rapidly dying indigenous languages becoming a primary focus in many university programmes in linguistics. Language description is a work-intensive endeavour, usually requiring years of field work in the language concerned, so as to equip the linguist to write a sufficiently accurate reference grammar. Further, the task of documentation requires the linguist to collect a substantial corpus in the language in question, consisting of texts and recordings, both sound and video, which can be stored in an accessible format within open repositories, and used for further research. [65]

Translation

The sub-field of translation includes the translation of written and spoken texts across mediums, from digital to print and spoken. To translate literally means to transmute the meaning from one language into another. Translators are often employed by organizations, such as travel agencies as well as governmental embassies to facilitate communication between two speakers who do not know each other's language. Translators are also employed to work within computational linguistics setups like Google Translate for example, which is an automated, programmed facility to translate words and phrases between any two or more given languages. Translation is also conducted by publishing houses, which convert works of writing from one language to another in order to reach varied audiences. Academic Translators, specialize and semi specialize on various other disciplines such as; Technology, Science, Law, Economics etc.

Biolinguistics

Biolinguistics is the study of the biology and evolution of language. It is a highly interdisciplinary field, including linguists, biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, mathematicians, and others. By shifting the focus of investigation in linguistics to a comprehensive scheme that embraces natural sciences, it seeks to yield a framework by which the fundamentals of the faculty of language are understood.

Clinical linguistics

Clinical linguistics is the application of linguistic theory to the fields of Speech-Language Pathology. Speech language pathologists work on corrective measures to cure communication disorders and swallowing disorders

Chaika (1990) showed that people with schizophrenia who display speech disorders, like rhyming inappropriately, have attentional dysfunction, as when a patient, shown a colour chip and then asked to identify it, responded "looks like clay. Sounds like gray. Take you for a roll in the hay. Heyday, May Day." The color chip was actually clay-colored, so his first response was correct.'

However, most people suppress or ignore words which rhyme with what they've said unless they are deliberately producing a pun, poem or rap. Even then, the speaker shows connection between words chosen for rhyme and an overall meaning in discourse. People with schizophrenia with speech dysfunction show no such relation between rhyme and reason. Some even produce stretches of gibberish combined with recognizable words. [66]

Computational linguistics

Computational linguistics is the study of linguistic issues in a way that is "computationally responsible", i.e., taking careful note of computational consideration of algorithmic specification and computational complexity, so that the linguistic theories devised can be shown to exhibit certain desirable computational properties and their implementations. Computational linguists also work on computer language and software development.

Evolutionary linguistics

Evolutionary linguistics is the interdisciplinary study of the emergence of the language faculty through human evolution, and also the application of evolutionary theory to the study of cultural evolution among different languages. It is also a study of the dispersal of various languages across the globe, through movements among ancient communities. [67]

Forensic linguistics

Forensic linguistics is the application of linguistic analysis to forensics. Forensic analysis investigates on the style, language, lexical use, and other linguistic and grammatical features used in the legal context to provide evidence in courts of law. Forensic linguists have also contributed expertise in criminal cases.

See also

Related Research Articles

Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field concerned with the statistical or rule-based modeling of natural language from a computational perspective, as well as the study of appropriate computational approaches to linguistic questions.

In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases and words in a natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules and this field includes phonology, morphology and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics and pragmatics.

Language Capacity to communicate using signs, such as words or gestures

A language is a structured system of communication. Language, in a broader sense, is the method of communication that involves the use of – particularly human – languages.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to linguistics:

Lexicology is the part of linguistics that studies words. This may include their nature and function as symbols, their meaning, the relationship of their meaning to epistemology in general, and the rules of their composition from smaller elements . Lexicology also involves relations between words, which may involve semantics, derivation, use and sociolinguistic distinctions, and any other issues involved in analyzing the whole lexicon of a language.

In linguistics, syntax is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language, usually including word order. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes. The goal of many syntacticians is to discover the syntactic rules common to all languages.

In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language is actually used by a group of people in a speech community.

Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include:

  1. to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages
  2. to reconstruct the pre-history of languages and to determine their relatedness, grouping them into language families
  3. to develop general theories about how and why language changes
  4. to describe the history of speech communities
  5. to study the history of words, i.e. etymology

Cognitive linguistics is an interdisciplinary branch of linguistics, combining knowledge and research from both psychology and linguistics. It describes how language interacts with cognition, how language forms our thoughts, and the evolution of language parallel with the change in the common mindset across time.

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. See also the Outline of linguistics, the List of phonetics topics, the List of linguists, and the List of cognitive science topics. Articles related to linguistics include:

Anthropological linguistics is the subfield of linguistics and anthropology, which deals with the place of language in its wider social and cultural context, and its role in making and maintaining cultural practices and societal structures. While many linguists believe that a true field of anthropological linguistics is nonexistent, preferring the term linguistic anthropology to cover this subfield, many others regard the two as interchangeable.

Discourse analysis (DA), or discourse studies, is an approach to the analysis of written, vocal, or sign language use, or any significant semiotic event.

In sociolinguistics, a register is a variety of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular communicative situation. For example, when speaking officially or in a public setting, an English speaker may be more likely to follow prescriptive norms for formal usage than in a casual setting; examples might include pronouncing words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal, choosing words that are considered more "formal", and refraining from using words considered nonstandard, such as ain't.

In linguistics, construction grammar is a family of theories which posit that human language consists of constructions, or learned pairings of linguistic forms with functions or meanings. Constructions can be individual words, morphemes, fixed expressions and idioms, and abstract grammatical rules such as the passive voice or ditransitive. Any linguistic pattern is considered to be a construction as long as some aspect of its form or its meaning cannot be predicted from its component parts, or from other constructions that are recognized to exist. In construction grammar, every utterance is understood to be a combination of multiple different constructions, which together specify its precise meaning and form.

<i>Syntactic Structures</i> book by Noam Chomsky

Syntactic Structures is a major work in linguistics by American linguist Noam Chomsky, originally published in 1957. A short monograph of about a hundred pages, it is recognized as one of the most significant studies of the 20th century, and in 2011 was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important nonfiction books ever written. It contains the now-famous sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously", which Chomsky offered as an example of a grammatically correct sentence that has no discernible meaning. Thus, Chomsky established the independence of syntax from semantics.

Linguistic competence is the system of linguistic knowledge possessed by native speakers of a language. It is distinguished from linguistic performance, which is the way a language system is used in communication. Noam Chomsky introduced this concept in his elaboration of generative grammar, where it has been widely adopted and competence is the only level of language that is studied.

Language documentation is a subfield of linguistics which aims to describe the grammar and use of human languages. It aims to provide a comprehensive record of the linguistic practices characteristic of a given speech community. Language documentation seeks to create as thorough a record as possible of the speech community for both posterity and language revitalization. This record can be public or private depending on the needs of the community and the purpose of the documentation. In practice, language documentation can range from solo linguistic anthropological fieldwork to the creation of vast online archives that contain dozens of different languages, such as FirstVoices or OLAC.

Clinical Linguistics is a sub-discipline of applied linguistics involved in the description, analysis, and treatment of language disabilities, especially the application of linguistic theory to the field of Speech-Language Pathology. The study of the linguistic aspect of communication disorders is of relevance to a broader understanding of language and linguistic theory.

The Copenhagen School, officially the Linguistic Circle of Copenhagen, is a group of scholars dedicated to the study of linguistics. It was founded by Louis Hjelmslev (1899–1965) and Viggo Brøndal (1887–1942). In the mid twentieth century the Copenhagen school was one of the most important centres of linguistic structuralism together with the Geneva School and the Prague School. In the late 20th and early 21st century the Copenhagen school has turned from a purely structural approach to linguistics to a functionalist one, Danish functional grammar, which nonetheless incorporates many insights from the founders.

Interactional sociolinguistics is a subdiscipline of linguistics that uses discourse analysis to study how language users create meaning via social interaction. It is one of the ways in which linguists look at the intersections of human language and human society; other subfields that take this perspective are language planning, minority language studies, quantitative sociolinguistics, and sociohistorical linguistics, among others. Interactional sociolinguistics is a theoretical and methodological framework within the discipline of linguistic anthropology, which combines the methodology of linguistics with the cultural consideration of anthropology in order to understand how the use of language informs social and cultural interaction. Interactional sociolinguistics was founded by linguistic anthropologist John J. Gumperz. Topics that might benefit from an Interactional sociolinguistic analysis include: cross-cultural miscommunication, politeness, and framing.

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Bibliography