is the scientific study of language. It endeavours to answer the question--what is language and how is represented in the mind? Linguists focus on describing and explaining language and are not concerned with the prescriptive rules of the language . Linguists are not required to know many languages and linguists are not interpreters
The underlying goal of the linguist is to try to discover the universals concerning language. That is, what are the common elements of all languages. The linguist then tries to place these elements in a theoretical framework that will describe all languages and also predict what can not occur in a language
Linguistics is a social science that shares common ground with other social sciences such as psychology, anthropology, sociology and archaeology. It also may influence other disciplines such as english, communication studies and computer science. Linguistics for the most part though can be considered a cognitive science. Along with psychology, philosophy and computer science , linguistics is ultimately concerned with how the human brain functions
There are several different disciplines within linguistics. The fields of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and language acquisition are considered the core fields of study and a firm knowledge of each is necessary in order to tackle more advanced subjects
Phonetics, the study of the physical properties of speech (or signed) production and perception
Phonology, the study of sounds (or signs) as discrete, abstract elements in the speaker's mind that distinguish meaning
Morphology, the study of internal structures of words and how they can be modified
Syntax, the study of how words combine to form grammatical sentences
Semantics, the study of the meaning of words (lexical semantics) and fixed word combinations (phraseology), and how these combine to form the meanings of sentences
Pragmatics, the study of how utterances are used in communicative acts, and the role played by context and non-linguistic knowledge in the transmission of meaning
Discourse analysis, the analysis of language use in texts (spoken, written, or signed)
Many linguists would agree that these divisions overlap considerably, and the independent significance of each of these areas is not universally acknowledged. Regardless of any particular linguist's position, each area has core concepts that foster significant scholarly inquiry and research.
Alongside these structurally motivated domains of study are other fields of linguistics, distinguished by the kinds of non-linguistic factors that they consider:
Applied linguistics, the study of language-related issues applied in everyday life, notably language policies, planning, and education. (Constructed language fits under Applied linguistics.)
Biolinguistics, the study of natural as well as human-taught communication systems in animals, compared to human language.
Clinical linguistics, the application of linguistic theory to the field of Speech-Language Pathology.
Computational linguistics, the study of computational implementations of linguistic structures.
Developmental linguistics, the study of the development of linguistic ability in individuals, particularly the acquisition of language in childhood.
Evolutionary linguistics, the study of the origin and subsequent development of language by the human species.
Historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics, the study of language change over time.
Language geography, the study of the geographical distribution of languages and linguistic features.
Linguistic typology, the study of the common properties of diverse unrelated languages, properties that may, given sufficient attestation, be assumed to be innate to human language capacity.
Neurolinguistics, the study of the structures in the human brain that underlie grammar and communication.
Psycholinguistics, the study of the cognitive processes and representations underlying language use.
Sociolinguistics, the study of variation in language and its relationship with social factors.
Stylistics, the study of linguistic factors that place a discourse in context.