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Encyclopedia > Descriptive linguistics
Linguistics
Theoretical linguistics
Phonetics
Phonology
Morphology
Syntax
Semantics
Lexical semantics
Statistical semantics
Structural semantics
Prototype semantics
Stylistics
Prescription
Pragmatics
Applied linguistics
Language acquisition
Psycholinguistics
Sociolinguistics
Linguistic anthropology
Generative linguistics
Cognitive linguistics
Computational linguistics
Descriptive linguistics
Historical linguistics
Comparative linguistics
Etymology
History of linguistics
List of linguists
Unsolved problems

Descriptive linguistics is the work of analyzing and describing how language is spoken (or how it was spoken in the past) by a group of people in a speech community. All scholarly research in linguistics is descriptive; like all other sciences, its aim is to observe the linguistic world as it is, without the bias of preconceived ideas about how it ought to be. Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Theoretical linguistics is that branch of linguistics that is most concerned with developing models of linguistic knowledge. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone meaning sound, voice) is the study of the sounds of human speech. ... Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... Semantics (Greek semantikos, giving signs, significant, symptomatic, from sema, sign) refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language, code, or other form of representation. ... Lexical semantics is a field in computer science and linguistics which deals mainly with word meaning. ... Statistical Semantics is the study of how the statistical patterns of human word usage can be used to figure out what people mean, at least to a level sufficient for information access (Furnas, 2006). ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Prototype Theory is a model of graded categorization in Cognitive Science, where some members of a category are more central than others. ... Stylistics is the study of style used in literary, and verbal language and the effect the writer/speaker wishes to communicate to the reader/hearer. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for the use of a language, or the making of recommendations for effective language usage. ... In linguistics and semiotics, pragmatics is concerned with bridging the explanatory gap between sentence meaning and speakers meaning. ... Applied linguistics is the branch of linguistics concerned with using linguistic theory to address real-world problems. ... Language acquisition is the process by which the language capability develops in a human. ... Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language. ... This article or section cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... Anthropological linguistics is the study of language through human genetics and human development. ... Generative linguistics is a school of thought within linguistics that makes use of the concept of a generative grammar. ... In linguistics and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics (CL) refers to the currently dominant school of linguistics that views the important essence of language as innately based in evolutionarily-developed and speciated faculties, and seeks explanations that advance or fit well into the current understandings of the human mind. ... Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the statistical and logical modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. ... Historical linguistics (also diachronic linguistics or comparative linguistics) is primarily the study of the ways in which languages change over time. ... Comparative linguistics (originally comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages in order to establish their historical relatedness. ... Not to be confused with Entomology, the study of insects. ... Efforts to describe and explain the human language faculty have been undertaken throughout recorded history. ... A linguist in the academic sense is a person who studies linguistics. ... Unsolved problems in : Note: Use the unsolved tag: {{unsolved|F|X}}, where F is any field in the sciences: and X is a concise explanation with or without links. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ...


Linguistic description is often contrasted with linguistic prescription, which is found especially in education and in publishing. Prescription seeks to define standard language forms and give advice on effective language use, and can be thought of as the attempt to present the fruits of descriptive research in a learnable form, though it also draws on more subjective aspects of language aesthetics. Prescription and description are essentially complementary, but have different priorities and sometimes are seen to be in conflict. In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for the use of a language, or the making of recommendations for effective language usage. ...


Accurate description of real speech is a difficult problem, and linguists have often been reduced to grossly inaccurate approximations. Almost all linguistic theory has its origin in practical problems of descriptive linguistics. Phonology (and its theoretical developments, such as the phoneme) deals with how native speakers pronounce their languages. Syntax has developed to describe what happens when phonetics has reduced spoken language to a normalized control level. Lexicography collects "words" and their derivations and transformations: it has not given rise to much generalized theory. Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... First language (native language, mother tongue) is the language a person learns first. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... Lexicography is either of two things Practical lexicography is the art or craft of writing dictionaries. ...


An extreme "mentalist" viewpoint denies that the linguistic description of a language can be done by anyone but a competent speaker. Such a speaker has internalized something called "linguistic competence", which gives them the ability to extrapolate correctly from their experience new but correct expressions, and to reject unacceptable expressions. Linguistic competence refers to the knowledge of a language system. ...


There are tens of thousands of linguistic descriptions of thousands of languages that were prepared by people without adequate linguistic training. With a few honorable exceptions, all linguistic descriptions done before ca. 1900 are amateur productions.


A linguistic description is considered descriptively adequate if it achieves one or more of the following goals of descriptive linguistics:

  1. A description of the phonology of the language in question.
  2. A description of the morphology of words belonging to that language.
  3. A description of the syntax of well-formed sentences of that language.
  4. A description of lexical derivations.
  5. A documentation of the vocabulary, including at least one thousand entries.
  6. A reproduction of a few genuine texts.

There are some bonus topics that might also be included, like an analysis of discourse and historical reconstructions. Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ...


Opposition and controversy

The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

Currently the most controversial topics are usually morphology and syntax. English has a very meager morphology and an over-emphasized syntax, but in the study of other languages, morphology has revived as an active field of study. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ...


The purpose of linguistic theory, so far as a practical linguist is concerned, is to make descriptions of morphology and syntax comprehensible.[citation needed] It is easy to see that the same data can often be described in different ways. For a while[citation needed] there was an active desire to find some measure which would allow some one description to be called the best. Today that goal seems to have been given up as chimerical.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Linguistics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1918 words)
Historical linguistics enjoys both a rich history (the study of linguistics grew out of historical linguistics) and a strong theoretical foundation for the study of language change.
Applications of computational linguistics in machine translation, computer-assisted translation, and natural language processing are extremely fruitful areas of applied linguistics which have come to the forefront in recent years with increasing computing power.
Sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, and linguistic anthropology are social sciences that consider the interactions between linguistics and society as a whole.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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