What is Linguistics?

Have you ever wondered?

Why we pronounce ‘Put’ and ‘But’ differently although the two words have the same vowel sound?
Where does the word ‘OK’ come from?
How people learn languages. It’s questions like these that Linguistics deals with.

Linguistics is the scientific study of language – its structure, description and application.

Many people think that a linguist is someone who speaks many languages but the focus of a linguist is about structure, use and psychology of language in general. Linguistics is concerned with the nature of language and communication as a subject and as a practical use in everyday life.

The Fields of Linguistics

Linguistics studies:

  • Phonetics (the study of the production and hearing of speech sounds)
  • Phonology (the patterning of sounds)
  • Morphology (the structure of words, their formation and use)
  • Syntax (the structure of sentences, their formation and use)
  • Semantics (the study of meaning and the meaning of meaning)
  • Pragmatics (language in context or the study of meaning in use)
  • Sociolinguistics (the study of language in society for gender and variation)
  • Psycholinguistics (the study of the link between language and brain)
  • Stylistics (the study of language and style of literature for appreciation)
  • Historical Linguistics (the study of origin of words and languages)
  • Applied Linguistics (the study of how linguistic principles can be used in different fields including communication, language teaching, law, policing, computing and medical) 


Benefits of Linguistics

Linguistics teaches the skills necessary to communicate efficiently using evidence and arguments. Because linguists read through large amounts of data, including texts, audios, and videos, they are trained to search for essential information among piles of data. Through this process, linguists gain intuition as to where and how to approach information. Political science and business students benefit from insights on the politics of language, computer science students study how to get computers to talk, and physics students explore the acoustic properties of speech sound. The possibilities are limited only by one’s imagination! The most important benefits of linguistics are as follows:

  • As a linguist, you can teach English better and effectively.
  • You can become a translator and interpreter at an embassy.
  • You can study linguistics and then go for another field because Linguistics teaches excellent analytic and writing skills needed in fields like law and journalism.
  • Linguistics is highly useful for people interested in language and artificial intelligence.
  • It helps you learn any language more quickly.

Muhammad Naeem

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