What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of language.
Not just learning a specific language, but the principles behind all languages.
A language is a system of connections between forms (sounds or shapes) and meanings (ideas and expressions).
Understanding linguistics can help you to learn any language, improve communication, and investigate human nature.

Linguistics includes:

  • Phonetics
    The study of human language sounds. Learn how to produce any sound in any language.
  • Phonology
    The study of sound patterns, how sounds combine and influence each other. Learn to process sounds like a native speaker.
  • Morphology
    The study of word patterns, how words are created and changed. Learn to form words like a native speaker.
  • Syntax
    The study of sentence patterns, how words are combined and ordered. Learn the principles behind the grammar of any language.
  • Semantics
    The study of meaning patterns. Learn how languages build meaning through
  • Pragmatics
    The study of how languages are used in the real world. Learn the principles behind concepts like “reading between the lines” and “you had to be there to understand”.
  • Sociolinguistics
    The study of the social patterns of language. Learn how different people use language differently.
  • Field Linguistics
    The study of unknown languages through conversation with native speakers. Learn how to decipher and make sense of any language.
  • Writing Systems
    The study of how languages are visually recorded. Learn the structure and principles of all writing systems, from Chinese characters to Egyptian hieroglyphs to the English alphabet.
  • Historical Linguistics
    The study of how languages change over time. Learn the patterns and principles behind how, for example, Latin evolved into the modern Romance languages, or how Old English evolved into modern English.
  • Linguistic Typology / Language Variation / Linguistic Diversity
    The study of similarity and variation between the world’s languages. Learn what is universal across all languages, and in what patterns languages differ.
  • Cognitive Linguistics
    The study of language from the perspective of cognitive science, the study of thought. Learn how language fits into the overall world of human thought.
  • Psycholinguistics
    The study of how the human mind shapes language. Learn the psychological factors influencing how we understand and use language.
  • Philosophy of Language
    The study of language’s connection with philosophy. Learn how language fits in to the issues of philosophy, such as the natureĀ 
  • Speech-Language Pathology
    The study of language disorders. Learn how medical factors can affect our ability to use language.
  • First Language Acquisition
    The study of how a baby becomes a native speaker. Learn how a babbling 1-year-old becomes a complex-story-telling 5-year-old, with remarkable similarities across all languages.
  • Second Language Acquisition
    The study of how anyone older than a baby learns a language. Learn the principles and best practices for learning any language.
  • Constructed Languages (“Conlang”)
    The creation of artificial languages. Learn how to create your own language for fiction, fandom, or fun.