The concept of linguistics (term derived from the French word linguistique ) names what belongs or is related to language . This word also allows mentioning the science that has language as an object of study. What is linguistics in English?
In this regard, it should be stressed that there are currently approximately 6,000 languages in the world. However, when it comes to studying them, Linguistics is based on a classification of those that are carried out based on the common origin that they may have. That is, they are ordered according to the family.
Thus, based on this explanation, we can find the Indo-European, Sinotibetan, Afro-Asian, Japanese, Korean, Uracic or Indo-Pacific languages, among others.
In this way, linguistics as a science focuses on nature and the guidelines that govern language . Unlike philology , a discipline that deepens the historical evolution of languages in writings and in the context of literature and associated culture, linguistics allows you to discover the functioning of a language at a given time, to understand its general development .
The modern linguistics arises from the nineteenth century . With the posthumous publication of “General Linguistics Course” ( 1916 ), by Ferdinand de Saussure , linguistics has become a science integrated into semiology . Since then, there is a need to make a difference between language (understood as the whole system) and speech (that is, its implementation), as well as to review the definition of linguistic sign (resource where the meaning is grouped and the signifier). What is linguistics in English?
In the twentieth century , Noam Chomsky develops the flow of generativism , which understands language as a consequence of the mental processing of the speaker and in the genetic (or innate, in other words) ability to incorporate and make use of a particular language.
Concept of Linguistics
The language (and the same faculty of the language ) has been tried and define from different perspectives : by neurologists philosophers, psychologists, linguists, telecommunications engineers, physicists, mathematicians, netizens, actors and filmmakers, educators, logical, speakers, ethnologists, etc .:
Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires, through a system of symbols produced voluntarily “
The vast majority of these definitions usually start from the fact that language is the result of a much broader process, that of communication , which is carried out by means of signs; and then the various authors extend (in the definition itself or in subsequent clarifications):
- In explaining what linguistic signs are and how they are classified . What is linguistics in English?
- In clarifying the psychic or physiological mechanisms that these signs trigger in the individual.
- In showing that the various natural languages are precisely those signs organized in a system .
- In conveniently situating linguistic phenomena in their corresponding social or psychological context .
- And insisting, finally, on the philosophical, physical, sociological, historical, dynamic plane, etc., according to the characteristic orientation of the author.
The approach seems essentially correct to us, although none of them offers us a complete and unitary vision of the generality of the phenomena and aspects of language. What is linguistics in English?
The essentially limited and not definitive of the definitions in circulation justifies, perhaps, that we also try to advance one more definition here as a starting point for this History of the English Language. We try with it, on the one hand, to distinguish (as in any classical definition) between genus and species; and, on the other, to synthesize, as far as possible, if not the multiple perspectives of linguistic phenomena, at least how much we will develop in the pages that follow.
Without going into the problem of communication , the nature, classes and organization of linguistic signs, etc., it seems to us that language could be defined as an expressive system ( based on ” signs “ ) that is distinguished from any other expressive system due to its specific structuring: both at the phonological, grammatical and semantic level; ” Structures ” that man will develop as the needs of the “community” of which he is a part evolve.
And the English language, therefore, as the phenomenon of this kind that has been developed (and is still developing) by the English people.
The definition, like all the others, will have to be analyzed in detail in its constitutive elements, presenting a schematic view, but as complete as possible, of that specific structuring: both at the phonological level (phonetic and phonemic), and at the grammatical level ( morphological and syntactic) and at the lexical-semantic level.
It seems to us that this ” structuring ” (at least from the historical point of view) has to be studied in the various periods of its evolution, although without forgetting the synchronic (or “descriptive” perspective of each of the periods in question); because, despite the radical nature of the Saussurean antinomy , and despite the scientific value that can be attributed to the duality diachrony – synchrony (especially as a methodological requirement in linguistic research), it seems to us that it would be a mistake to consider the history of language exclusively in one of those opposing ” frames “. Rather, we believe that there must be an interdependence, a mutual conditioning between the synchronic and the diachronic: between the system and its evolution. It could not be otherwise, since the language is something “alive”, which is constantly transformed. W. von Wartburg has already clearly pointed it out: “the linguistics of the future must try to reach a level where both points of view are organically linked, so that it is clearly seen how system and movement condition each other”
Some Important points of Linguistics
The main lines of research in contemporary linguistics are:
General linguistics : study of the general and translinguistic principles underlying the use and functioning of natural languages, regardless of their specificity and diversity.
Phonetics : study of acoustic reality, articulatory and anatomical functioning and the perceptive interpretation of the sounds of a given natural language.
Phonology : study of the sound system of a language, the rules underlying the combination of these sounds and the way these sounds express distinctions of meaning.
Prosody : study of the suprasegmental dimension of the language and the impact, from a communicative point of view, that this dimension exerts on the language, that is, prosody is dedicated to the analysis of the variations suffered by the fundamental frequency (also intonation ), by the intensity and by the duration of certain linguistic segments.
Morphology : study of the formation and internal structure of words in a language.
Syntax : study of the rules underlying the organization of words in a grammatically well-formed sentence.
Semantics: study of the meaning of the production and interpretation of words and phrases.
Pragmatics : study of the use of language in context as opposed to the study of the language system.
Discourse analysis : study of the use and functioning of the various types of discursive organization (such as narrative, descriptive, argumentative, explanatory, dialogic discourse , among other typological possibilities).
Historical (or diachronic) linguistics: study of the origin and evolution of a given language over a certain period of time.
Applied linguistics : application to the teaching/learning of mother tongues and foreign languages of the theoretical and methodological principles resulting from research in different areas of linguistics.
Sociolinguistics : study of the characteristics and factors of a social order that influence and determine a language or linguistic variety.
Psycholinguistics : study of the relationship between mental processes (perception, memory, attention) and the acquisition and development of verbal language. Discipline in relation to other disciplines – Speech Pathologies and Developmental Psychology .
Dialectology : study of the characteristics and underlying functioning of the geographic diversity of languages, reflected in dialects and accents.
neurolinguistics: study of the relationship between the brain and language and the mechanisms underlying the acquisition and use of language skills by humans.
Computational linguistics (also called language engineering ): intersection between the new technologies of computational language processing and the knowledge provided by theoretical linguistics. It includes natural language processing (NLP) and computational speech processing, with emphasis on speech synthesis and voice recognition. What is linguistics in English?
Speech therapy : diagnosis, analysis and treatment of speech and cognitive language processing disorders.
Lexicology : study of vocabulary in terms of frequency, distribution, content, formation and history.
Lexicography : branch of lexicology dedicated to the creation of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries.