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 encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modelling them.

The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Each of these areas roughly corresponds to phenomena found in human linguistic systems: sounds (and gesture, in the case of signed languages), minimal units (words, morphemes), phrases and sentences, and meaning and use.

Linguistics studies these phenomena in diverse ways and from various perspectives. Theoretical linguistics (including traditional descriptive linguistics) is concerned with building models of these systems, their parts (ontologies), and their combinatorics. Psycholinguistics builds theories of the processing and production of all these phenomena. These phenomena may be studied synchronically or diachronically (through history), in monolinguals or polyglots, in children or adults, as they are acquired or statically, as abstract objects or as embodied cognitive structures, using texts (corpora) or through experimental elicitation, by gathering data mechanically, through fieldwork, or through introspective judgment tasks. Computational linguistics implements theoretical constructs to parse or produce natural language or homologues. Neurolinguistics investigates linguistic phenomena by experiments on actual brain responses involving linguistic stimuli.

Linguistics is related to philosophy of language, stylistics and rhetoric, semiotics, lexicography, and translation. (Full article...)

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Pinker in 2011

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

Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and his academic specializations are visual cognition and developmental linguistics. 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, as well as 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, positing 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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