WHAT IS LINGUISTICS?
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Linguists try to answer such questions as:
- Why do particular languages work the way they do?
- What features do languages in general share?
- How do children acquire a language in the first place, and how does this differ from adult language learning?
- How and why do languages change?
- Why does language differ from place to place?
- How does language interact with other aspects of society and culture?
Linguistics majors and minors study the results of linguistic research and its relevance to such diverse fields as psychology, philosophy, English, foreign languages, anthropology, communication, speech and hearing sciences and computer science. In this context, the field of linguistics occupies a special position, bridging the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences. Linguistics is also central to the developing interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. Linguists do not necessarily need a command of several languages, but a background in foreign languages can be an asset.