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lipamanka’s guide to linguistics terminology
Okay I haven’t really seen one of these yet on the internet. I think it would be super cool if there was one of these accessible to people, so they could look up ling terms. It will also serve as a catalogue of terms that I know. As the list gets bigger I will add better ways of organizing it. Terms will be explained in easy to grasp ways and will show examples. For the time being this will just be a static page with short definitions of the subfields of linguistics.
First of all, what is linguistics? linguistics is the science of language. Depending on who you are and what you do, that might seem broad or narrow. What is language? How do languages differ from each other? Why is this important? Linguistics can be broken down into subfields and Interdisciplinary fields.
Subfields of linguistics are smaller in scope than general linguistics. It is uncommon to find a linguist who knows about all of these subfields. Here are the primary subfields of linguistics, what they mean, and links to their sections below (some of which will be empty for a while).
- origin of languages is where languages come from. Where DO they come from, anyway?
- Phonetics is the sounds the human vocal tract can produce.
- Phonology is how sounds (or gestures) are used in languages, how they change depending on context, and how they evolve. It also helps us determine if a language differentiates between given sounds.
- Morphology is how parts of words combine and which little parts of words are allowed to combine with each other.
- Syntax is what order words go in, how changing the order changes meaning, and which orders are allowed.
- Semantics is the meanings of words and phrases.
- Pragmatics is how language is used in context by its speakers when they communicate.
- orthography is how language is written.
interdisciplinary fields are types of linguistics that involve another field of study.
- Sociolinguistics is concerned with how language intersects with social issues like systemic oppression.
- Computational linguistics looks at how we can use code to analyze language and translate language.
- Historical linguistics is studies how language changes over time and where specific languages come from.
- Neurolinguistics looks at how the brain processes language and produces language.
- Linguistic anthropology is how language and culture interact, how they’ve changed over time, and
Why is this important?
uh idk I think it’s cool (I have some cool reasons I’m just too tired to write them out besides just name dropping “language revitalization” and “environmentalism” and “alternative ways of knowing encoded into culture through language”