What is linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of the human language. Human communication through signs, symbols, speech and writing are studied in this subject. The study of these vehicles of communication – their form, structure, meaning, use, context and relation to human development form the basis of this subject. Questions pertaining to language and human communication are answered in this field of study, i.e. how did language evolve? How did people communicate before modern modes of communication? Is there any relation between different languages? How does communicating in different languages affect human relationship? How does human physiology affect communicating? When and how does a small child begin talking and learning to communicate?

There is a vast amount of subjects studied under the umbrella of “linguistics”. however, they can be broadly classified into three categories:

1. Form of language – This refers to the three main components of language – form, content and use; their features, structure and how they are arranged according to a particular language grammar. Subjects studied in this subfield include:
a. Morphology (word structuring and composition)
b. Phonology (sound of words in a language in context with grammar)
c. Syntax (sentence and phrase formation and composition from words).

2. Meaning of language – This refers to the application of logic and reference by world languages to process, communicate and inform. Subjects studied in this subfield include:
a. Semantics (word, sign, symbol, concept meaning)
b. Pragmatics (contextual meaning).

3. Context of language – This refers to how language is affected and transformed by socio-economic, historical and political factors. Subjects studied in this subfield include:
a. Evolutionary linguistics (origin and development of language)
b. Historical linguistics (growth and transformation of language through history)
c. Sociolinguistics (relationship between language and society)
d. Psycholinguistics (how language is translated in the mind)
e. Neurolinguistics (language processing in the brain)
f. Language acquisition (language learning and understanding by humans)
g. Discourse analysis (form and composition of conversations).

Linguistics is a major part of being human. It is an interdisciplinary subject that has relevance to the study of various other fields not necessary scientific also. Some of the main fields include literature, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, biology (specifically related to human anatomy), information technology (especially computer science and engineering), speech therapy, etc.

Linguistics as a subject of science is most helpful in understanding human growth, development and behavior. It has various applications across different fields of work. It assists historians in understanding human civilizations thousands of years ago by studying the symbols and ancient scripts, it provides psychologists with traits and behavioral indicators while treating a patient; Linguistics is also being used in the discipline of philosophy. It is now being considered as a tool wherein issues can be resolved by the understanding and redefining of the use of grammar and language.