“What actually is linguistics?”
Gosh, if I had a pound for every time someone has asked me that question, I would be rich right now.
I have mentioned on this blog several times that I study French and Linguistics at university but have never gone into much depth about what linguistics is. The simplest explanation, I guess, is that it is the science of language. I, for one, would describe it differently. Yes, there are certainly scientific elements, but overall, linguistics for me is the study of language, whether that is indeed the scientific aspects or the social/cultural side of things. Here’s what you might be studying as a linguistics student:
Yeah, there’s a lot of topics that linguistics incorporates, and I’m sure that my lecturers could add 100 more words to the picture. Nevertheless, linguistics is a fascinating subject with so many branches to explore.
This does make me wonder why more people don’t study linguistics. If you didn’t know what it was before, well you do now.
Just take a minute to think about how important language and communication is in your daily life. Blogging certainly would not exist if it weren’t for language. How do we know what sentences make sense? How have we acquired the language to be able to speak and write in the first place?
All these questions vital to our lives, and yet, I find it quite sad that there seems to be a lack of interest in the subject. For instance, at Leeds, there are over 34,000 students. In my year, there are only 4 of us studying French and Linguistics.
It’s time to put linguistics back on the map.