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Why study linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of language and its use: of the fundamental features all languages share and of the myriad ways they differ. It includes the study of speech sounds, including the physics of the speech stream and the physiology of the vocal tract and auditory system (phonetics); the study of how speakers of different languages perceive sounds in different ways and how the sounds pattern in their languages (phonology); the study of how different elements of meaning are packaged into words in different languages (morphology); the study of the patterns according to which words are combined into sentences (syntax); and the study of how longer stretches of speech are organized (discourse). It is concerned with the ways in which languages develop, how words and grammatical patterns come into being and evolve over time (historical linguistics), and how children perceive and systematize, simply from hearing speech around them, the intricate system that is their mother tongue (language acquisition). It examines how languages reflect the cultural context in which they evolve, both physical and intellectual, and in turn how languages may shape our perception of the world (anthropological linguistics). It investigates the ways in which divisions into social classes, ethnic groups, and gender can be mirrored in speech (sociolinguistics).

Much of the world is multilingual. Multilingualism raises intriguing psychological and social questions: How do two or more languages coexist within an individual mind? How do bilingual individuals decide when to switch from one language to another? Who should legislate the choice of language in particular contexts? Multilingual communities are also of interest because of the effects they can have on the languages spoken, as they converge not only in vocabulary but also in grammar and other features. Under certain social conditions, a mix of languages can even give rise to new languages: pidgins and creoles.

The Department of Linguistics at UCSB is recognized as a leader in the discipline. The faculty is known both for its innovative research and active work in the field with speakers of unusual languages, particularly North American Indian languages, Mesoamerican languages, Asian languages (especially Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), Himalayan languages, and Austronesian languages of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. There is also a special interest in spoken American English.

The department offers excellent undergraduate training, with small upper-division classes, individual study, field work, and a concerned faculty. The major is ideally suited for interdisciplinary studies; students can use the major to explore special areas such as psycholinguistics, anthropological linguistics, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, philosophy of language, or specific languages.






Title Linguistics : an introduction to language and communication / Adrian Akmajian ... [et al.]
Published Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1995
Edition 4th ed
  HSS  410 1995 LIN         AVAILABLE
Subject Linguistics
Contents Ch. 1. What Is Linguistics? -- Ch. 2. Morphology: The Study of the Structure of Words -- Ch. 3. Phonetics and Phonemic Transcription -- Ch. 4. Phonology: The Study of Sound Structure -- Ch. 5. Syntax: The Study of Sentence Structure -- Ch. 6. Semantics: The Study of Meaning and Denotation -- Ch. 7. Language Variation -- Ch. 8. Language Change -- Ch. 9. Pragmatics: The Study of Language Use and Communication -- Ch. 10. Psychology of Language: Speech Production and Comprehension -- Ch. 11. Language Acquisition in Children -- Ch. 12. Language and the Brain -- Appendix: The Written Representation of Language
Description xiv, 577 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Bibliog. Includes bibliographical references and index
Other auth Akmajian, Adrian
ISBN 0262011506 (alk. paper) <>

Lingüística :
una introducción al lenguaje y la comunicación /
Author: Akmajian, Adrian.; Demers, Richard A.; Harnish, Robert M., and others
Publication: Madrid : Alianza Editorial, 1987, 1984