Portal:Linguistics

For a topical guide of this subject, see Outline of linguistics

Welcome to the Linguistics Portal!

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in context, as well as an analysis of the social, cultural, historical, and political factors that influence language.

Linguists traditionally analyse human language by observing an interplay between sound and meaning. The emergence of historical and evolutionary linguistics has also led to a greater disciplinary focus on how languages change and grow, particularly over an extended period of time.

Macrolinguistic concepts include the study of narrative theory, stylistics, discourse analysis, and semiotics. Microlinguistic concepts, on the other hand, involve the analysis and application of grammar, speech sounds, palaeographic symbols, lexicography, editing, language documentation as well as speech-language pathology (a corrective method to cure phonetic disabilities and disfunctions at the cognitive level).

The earliest activities in the documentation and description of language have been attributed to the 6th-century-BC Indian grammarian Pāṇini who wrote a formal description of the Sanskrit language in his Aṣṭādhyāyī. Today, modern-day theories on grammar employ many of the principles that were laid down back then. (Full article...)

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Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker's academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children's language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemism, innuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children's learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding "-ed" to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one. (Full article...)

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