What is linguistics?
- Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. Linguistics is conducted along two axes:
- Theoretical vs. Applied: Theoretical (or general) linguistics is concerned with frameworks for describing individual languages and theories about universal aspects of language; applied linguistics applies these theories to practical problems such as language teaching, speech synthesis, or speech therapy.
- Autonomous vs. Contextual (note: these terms are not well-established): Autonomous linguistics studies what Saussure called langue or what Chomsky calls [Internal]-language: the nature of language abstracting away from many aspects of its day-to-day usage. Contextual linguistics is concerned with what Saussure called parole or what Chomsky calls E[xternal]-language, namely how language fits into the world: its social function, or its use in the broader context of human behavior.
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