What is linguistics?
Linguistics is the study of human language. As a subject, linguistics is taught at many universities and colleges throughout the world. In schools, the subject is generally taught more in an incidental way, as part of the teaching of specific languages, and generally only in fragments - for instance, aspects of the grammar of the language in question.
Branches of linguistics:
(The following is under construction - I will add more details and refine the description over the next few weeks. At the moment, the description is overly brief and, in some respects, inaccurate - please don't quote me on the following!)
Here follows a list of some of the branches that it is common to divide linguistics into:
To understand how these branches are interrelated, I find it useful to think of the whole field of linguistics as being a multidimensional space that one can navigate inside. A particular phenomenon can then be thought of as existing at a particular point in this multidimensional space. One advantage of this kind of approach is that we can consider phenomena from several points of view at the same time; for instance, we can discuss the historical development of a syntactic phenomenon that depends on a particular phonological feature.
Most of the branches listed above are captured in the following
Dimensions of linguistic descriptions: