Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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Current LINGUIST Subfields



The LINGUIST List subfields match those of the OLAC project
( http://www.language-archives.org/REC/field.html ).
Click the name of the individual linguistic field for more specific information and examples.

Anthropological Linguistics

Applied Linguistics

Cognitive Science

Computational Linguistics

Discourse Analysis

Forensic Linguistics

General Linguistics

Historical Linguistics

History of Linguistics

Language Acquisition

Language Documentation

Lexicography

Linguistics and Literature

Linguistic Theories

Mathematical Linguistics

Morphology

Neurolinguistics

Philosophy of Language

Phonetics

Phonology

Pragmatics

Psycholinguistics

Semantics

Sociolinguistics

Syntax

Text and Corpus Linguistics

Translating and Interpreting

Typology

Writing Systems


Anthropological Linguistics

Definition: The study of human communication within a sociocultural context and the origin and evolution of language (often in less well-documented languages).

Comments: The definition includes 'ethnolinguistics"

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: The SIL Ethnologue, which collects data on the number on speakers of a language and the region in which it is spoken.

Applied Linguistics

Definition: A field of study encompassing all applications of linguistic theory and language learning and education.

Comments: This definition includes TESOL, ESL, Second Language Teaching, Second Language Learning and Contrastive Linguistics.

This category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading 'Language and Education,' not the LCSH category 'Applied Linguistics,' which includes computer applications of linguistics. In the 'OLAC-Linguistic' extension of the DCMI Subject element, computer applications should beclassified as Computational Linguistics.

Examples: Teaching materials, guides for language teachers, and studies of adult language learning.

Cognitive Science

Definition: The multi-disciplinary filed of study of the mind and intelligence which investigates how people learn a language rather than what they learn.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: An experiment on language and vision or a book on the study of the mind.

Computational Linguistics

Definition: The use of computer science in the study of computational systems that process or analyze written or spoken natural language dealing with aspects such as grammar, interpretation and production of language by technology.

Comments: The definition includes Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing, but not Mathematical Linguistics.

Examples: Books and papers dealing with Machine Translation, Text to Speech software, and algorithms to parse sentences.

Discourse Analysis

Definition: A vast and multi-disciplinary area, with influences from sociology, linguistics, anthropology and psychology, which analyzes language use beyond the sentence or clause level. It examines the patterns and meanings behind connected speech, such as conversational exchanges or written texts in a Courtroom setting or in doctor/patient interaction.

Comments: The definition includes Humor Studies, Conversation Analysis, Interactional Sociolinguistics, and studies of language use in special circumstances, e.g. Courtroom Language.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: Transcripts of discourse, perhaps with turn taking and speaker overlap highlighted; papers on Discourse Representation Theory or on different talk types such as doctor/patient interaction; and audio and video tapes of interactive discourse which might serve as an object of study.

Forensic Linguistics

Definition: The interface between language, the law and crime.

Comments: Forensic linguistics refers to the use of linguistic methodology to make legal determinations. Analyses of courtroom language are best classified as Discourse Analysis.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: Papers on issues in dispute in court cases, e.g., authorship identification, assessment of ambiguity in texts, voice attribution.

General Linguistics

Definition: The broad study of linguistics without specialization in any subfield or particular reference to a specific linguistic theory.


Comments: Resources that cover many subfields in depth, perhaps a dissertation on an endangered language with a detailed syntactic and phonological analysis, should be classified under all the relevant subfields instead of 'General Linguistics'.

Examples: Broad, often introductory textbooks such as The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (Crystal, 1987), and glossaries of linguistic terminology.

Historical Linguistics

Definition: The study of linguistic change over time in a particular language (family). The reconstruction of unattested forms of earlier stages of a language by use of the comparative method to study similarities such as vocabulary, word formation and syntax.


Comments: This definition includes Genetic Classification, Comparative Historical Linguistics, and philological and etymological study (or rather classified as Lexicography).

Examples: A study of the diachronic development of vowels in Romance.

History of Linguistics

Definition: Study of the history and development of linguistic science.


Examples: A biography of Ferdinand de Saussure, or an analysis of Plato's discussions on language.

Language Acquisition

Definition: The study of how humans acquire a language, in relation with age (child/adult) and whether it is their first or later language learning.


Comments: Language Acquisition may be used to describe materials relating to language acquisition. However, if the materials deal specifically with language teaching, or with the process of language learning from a pedagogical point of view, they may be best classified as Applied Linguistics.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: Studies of first language acquisition, audio or video tapes of language acquisition experiments, and guides to experimental techniques in eliciting acquisition data.

Language Documentation

Definition: The comprehensive record of the linguistic practices of a given (endangered) speech community by encompassing theory and methodology in the process of language description and documentation. Technology has enabled documentation of digital archives and use of multimedia materials to act as a interfaces between fieldwork(ers) and native speakers.

Comments: Also known as Linguistic Documentation

Examples: A manual on fieldwork techniques.

Lexicography

Definition: A branch of applied linguistics that is concerned with the compiling, editing, and study of meaning and evolution of the vocabulary units of a language for the purpose of writing dictionaries, either monolingual or multilingual.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: Books and papers about creating dictionaries. Swadesh word lists, a bilingual Avestan-English dictionary, and a collection of legal terms in a particular language.

Linguistics and Literature

Definition: A combination of theoretical and applied linguistics in the study of the relationship between literature (of any genre) and linguistics in an analysis of lexical patterns or syntactic constructions.


Comments: The definition includes Stylistics and Poetics. Resources classified under this category would also be classified under the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name; however, the LCSH does not include Poetics and Stylistics, which are separate LCSH fields.

Examples: An analysis of lexical patterns characteristic of a particular author or syntactic constructions used to create specific literary effects.

Linguistic Theories

Definition: Theories (argued to be) fundamental to linguistic science, often spanning more than one subfield such as phonology and syntax.

Examples: Papers arguing for or against Universal Grammar, Transformational Grammar, or Montague Grammar.

Mathematical Linguistics

Definition: The field of study of mathematical structures and methods that are of importance to linguistics.

Comments: he category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A linguistic paper about the formal properties of grammars.

Morphology

Definition: The study of the structure of individual words and of the smallest meaningful units along with their possible combinations to form lexical items.

Comments: A resource consisting primarily of data from a morphologically complex language should be classified as 'Language Description' if the primary purpose is to describe the structure of the language in question.

Use of the Library of Congress Subject Heading "Morphophonemics" is deprecated.

Examples: A paper on morphological theory, Word Grammar (Hudson).

Neurolinguistics

Definition: The study concerned with the comprehension, production and abstract knowledge of language (spoken, signed or written) and human brain mechanisms.

Comments: An interdisciplinary field that encompasses linguistics, neurobiology, and computer science, among others.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A study of brain damage with respect to language impairment, a study of the neurological development of the brain during first language acquisition. The latter should also be classified as Language Acquisition.

Philosophy of Language

Definition: The application of philosophy that concerns itself with examining how sentences of a language are composed into units and meaningful parts, how language is used along with its social purpose, and how language relates to the mind of the speaker and, consequently, to the world.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A paper on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, a comparative study of verbal and non-verbal thought.

Phonetics

Definition: The study and classification of the nature of speech sounds, primarily its structure, articulation and perception. Phonetics has three main subfields: articulatory phonetics (correlation between speech organs and the production of speech), acoustic phonetics (properties of human speech sound waves), and auditory phonetics (speech perception).

Comments: Datasets, lexicons, and graphic representations of experimental results should be classified under Phonetics if they have particular relevance to the sounds of the language.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A sound inventory of a language, a study of the variation of articulation of a particular sound.

Phonology

Definition: The analysis and description of how meaningful sounds combine into functional patterns in speech production of a language.

Comments: he classification is not limited to phonological analyses. Datasets, lexicons, and graphic representations of experimental results should be classified under Phonology if they have particular relevance to the sound system of the language.

Use of the Library of Congress subject heading "Morphophonemics" is deprecated.

Examples:

Phonological theories applied to a particular language; that is, a study of the syllable structure of a language, or the rules behind sound alternations. Also to be included under 'Phonology' are phoneme datasets, field notes on the phonology of a language, and papers on phonological theories t hemselves, such as a critique of Optimality Theory.



Pragmatics

Definition: The study of the ways in which a situation influences the meaning and understanding of spoken language or non-verbal communication.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A study of politeness phenomena, honorifics, deixis or speech acts.

Psycholinguistics

Definition: The psychological and neurological factors that enable humans to acquire, use and comprehend language. Experimental psychology is applied to study and understand the mental processes involved in language use.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A cross-linguistic study of acquisition of a particular syntactic constraint, a study of aphasic children's language development.

Semantics

Definition: The study of the meaning of (parts of) words, phrases, sentences and texts with the aim to explain how sequences of language coincide with their meanings when articulated in particular environments.

Comments: The study of meaning in conversation should be classified as Discourse Analysis and not Semantics. The Linguistic Field of Semantics includes meaning at the word level ('lexical semantics'). Pragmatics is often considered a part of semantics.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A paper on a semantic theory, such as Truth Conditional Semantics. A paper on color lexemes in a particular language.

Sociolinguistics

Definition: The study of the effect of the society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used.

Comments: Multilingualism, Folklore, Pidgins and Creoles, Dialectology, Language Planning, and Gender Studies should all be classified under 'Sociolinguistics'.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A study of language variation according to such factors as the speakers' gender, age, and/or social class.

Syntax

Definition: The study of the grammatical relations between words, how they combine into larger units and the rules that must be obeyed to form sentences. To be distinguished from morphology, which applies to units smaller than the word.

Comments: The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A syntactic description of a language, using a particular syntactic theory. A paper using language data to criticize a syntactic theory.

Text and Corpus Linguistics

Definition: The study of the linguistic properties of an extended passage, text, or corpus of texts.

Comments: The definition includes Semiotics and Genre Analysis, as well as the computational analysis of text corpora.

Examples: A statistical analysis of the British National Corpus, on the use of modal verbs in spoken and written English.

Translating and Interpreting

Definition: The study of the act of converting one language into another, either via speech or writing.

Comments: The definition includes theoretical discussions of the best translation and interpreting methods, and practical aids to interpreting languages. The translated text itself may be better classified under 'Language Description' if the purpose of the translation is to exemplify the structure of a language.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A study of the relative merits of different levels of translation (that is, literal translation, word-for-word translation and so on).

Typology

Definition: The study of the similarities and differences between languages, regardless of any genetic relation, and the resulting categorization of language into 'types' by classification of its grammatical features.

Comments: The definition includes the descriptive and comparative study of Universals.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A paper using data from multiple languages as an argument for or against Universal Grammar. An analysis of a poorly documented language in terms of Greenberg's Universals.

Writing Systems

Definition: The visual representation of spoken language on paper or other media, and the issues involved in writing and creating a writing system.

Comments: Resources dealing with literacy may be classified as Writing Systems or Applied Linguistics or both, depending on whether the resource has substantial pedagogic content (Applied Linguistics) or includes an analysis of the graphemic system per se (Writing Systems). Most writing systems may be broadly divided into the category of logographic, syllabic or alphabetic.

The category is equivalent to the Library of Congress subject heading of the same name.

Examples: A paper examining issues in a linguist's development of a writing system for a previously unwritten language. An examination of pictographic writing systems. A book on the decipherment of Linear B.