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What is linguistics?

The science of linguistics is concerned with the patterns in human language, and with all aspects of human behavior that interact with human beings' ability to use language. Contrary to widespread belief, linguistics is a different field from translation, and linguists do not necessarily speak more than one language. Linguistics includes many subfields:

  • Phonetics: the study of the physics of language sounds, and of the organs of speech and hearing
  • Phonology: the study of the psychological organization of speech sounds
  • Morphology: the study of the structure and design of words
  • Syntax: the study of the structure and design of sentences
  • Semantics: the study of language meaning
  • Pragmatics: the study of how abstract meaning relates to real language use
  • Language acquisition: the study of language learning by children and adults
  • Sociolinguistics: the study of the role and uses of language in human society
  • Neurolinguistics: the study of how language is processed by the brain
  • Computational linguistics: the study of how natural language can be processed by computers
  • Applied linguistics: applications of linguistic science to education, literature, law, and other fields

Research on the Wakashan languages has focused mainly on their grammar - that is, their phonology, morphology, and syntax - their history, or how the separate languages have evolved through time, their sociolinguistics, especially regarding their unfortunate decline in use, and efforts to revitalize them, and their phonetics. There is as yet little research, for example, on Wakashan semantics, processing, or acquisition.