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Linguistics? eh.. Whats that?

  • 24-09-2006 10:39pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,578 ✭✭✭ Scraggs


    I thought I'd start this thread because many people don't know what linguistics & etymology actually involves...

    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language, which includes:

    Phonetics -> the physical nature of speech
    Phonology -> use of sounds in language
    Morphology -> the formation of words
    Syntax -> the structure of sentences
    Semantics -> the meaning of words and how they combine into sentences
    Pragmatics -> the effect of situation on language use

    Branches of linguistics include;

    Theoretical linguistics (how languages work)
    Historical linguistics (how languages got to be the way they are)
    Sociolinguistics (language and the structure of society)
    Psycholinguistics (how language is implemented in the brain)
    Applied linguistics (teaching, translation, etc.)
    Computational linguistics (computer processing of human language)

    Sign language, non-verbal communication and animal communication also form a big part of linguistics.

    Etymology is the study of the origins of words. Through the study of old texts and comparison with other languages, etymologists reconstruct the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning changed.


    I'll add a list of interesting links later when I get the chance.


Comments



  • Etymology sounds quite interesting. I may return to read more. :)




  • Obligatory wikipedia article link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics








  • Etymology is really interesting. The way language evolves over time is one of its most fascinating aspects imho. :)




  • I read a great forum about etymology alreay, I love this aspect of language...


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  • I read a great forum about etymology alreay, I love this aspect of language...
    Well...what is it?

    This is an excellent book.




  • aye, etymology can be quite interesting :)




  • I have come up with a morphology joke:

    What do you get if you pluralise your breathing?

    A lung inflection.




  • I have come up with a morphology joke:

    What do you get if you pluralise your breathing?

    A lung inflection.
    *tumbleweed*




  • Well since we're doing jokes now...

    A linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."
    A voice from the back of the room retorted, "Yeah, right."

    Wa Wa:D


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  • Very good :D




  • The Language Log blog from the University of Pennsylvania is often an interesting read about language/linguistics/etymology:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/




  • Would Etymology also cover the origin of phrases and sayings, as in:

    "Hands down" the best.........

    or

    He's "losing the run of himself"

    and so on?

    Thanks, GB.




  • Etymology is more generally concerned with the origin and evolution of single word rather than phrases or colloquialisms.

    This Wiki
    has quite a good explanation.
    Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term "etymology (of a word)" means the origin of a particular word.
    For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods of their history and when they entered the languages in question. Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information to be available. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots have been found that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family.
    Even though etymological research originally grew from the philological tradition, currently much etymological research is done on language families where little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian.
    So that's the technical bit, but it's always interesting to discuss the origins of phrases etc.. :)




  • As slowburner says, etymology is concerned only with the origins and development of single, individual words. So, technically, it wouldn't cover the origins of phrases or sayings.

    Phrases, expressions, sayings, idioms, etc., often have origins in historical events; sometimes sports, sometimes customs and tradition, sometimes in the actions of a particular person, and so on. For example, it seems the phrase "hands down" has origins in horse racing: a jockey far enough into the lead of a race can slacken the horse's reins, lowering his hands, and so winning hands down. You can see how this phrase could evolve from meaning "winning" into being associated with "the best." So perhaps the best field of study for the origins of phrases would be the broad field of history itself; I've often, more often than I can remember, been reading about a certain historical event or individual only to have an "a-ha" moment regarding one of our modern phrases.

    Still, I'm sure discussions on the origins of phrases would be welcome in this forum, as those with an interest in words surely have an interest in phrases and sayings.




  • GastroBoy wrote: »
    Would Etymology also cover the origin of phrases and sayings, as in:

    "Hands down" the best.........

    or

    He's "losing the run of himself"

    and so on?

    Thanks, GB.

    Required reading for anyone interested in the history and development of language. The book is a few years old so you can order a cheap new/used copy online.

    Linguistics rocks. Doing a PhD in it.




  • Scraggs wrote: »
    Well since we're doing jokes now...

    A linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."
    A voice from the back of the room retorted, "Yeah, right."

    Wa Wa:D

    :-)

    But, anyway, that professor was wrong. Double negatives in English don't form a positive.

    Take the Cork: I don know nautin like.

    Does that person know nothing or something?




  • Hi,

    Does anyone know of a short part-time course that I could do in linguistics in the Dublin area? I am really interested in it but I don't want to spend a lot of money on a degree course yet until I find out more about it and thought a short part-time course might help, something like an introduction to linguistics.

    Thanks


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