What is linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language (Aitchison 2003: 4, Cuddon 1999: 483).  This means that linguists analyze languages as well as our capacity for language with scientific rigour.  Early linguistics focused on describing language and this work probably began with the Ancient Greeks.  Greek scholars contributed the idea that meaning is a composite.  In other words, we can piece together the meaning of any utterance by first analyzing the meaning of its component parts.  This insight is a cornerstone of modern linguistics and it has given rise to the structuralism movement.  Read the full PDF here: What is linguistics


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