Theoretical linguistics
Lexical semantics
Statistical semantics
Structural semantics
Prototype semantics
Applied linguistics
Language acquisition
Linguistic anthropology
Generative linguistics
Cognitive linguistics
Computational linguistics
Descriptive linguistics
Historical linguistics
Comparative linguistics
History of linguistics
List of linguists
Unsolved problems
Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone meaning 'sound, voice') is the study of the sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the actual properties of speech sounds (phones), and their production, audition and perception, while phonology, which emerged from it, studies sound systems and abstract sound units (such as phonemes and distinctive features). Phonetics deals with the sounds themselves rather than the contexts in which they are used in languages. Discussions of meaning (semantics) do not enter at this level of linguistic analysis.

Phonetics has three main branches: There are over a hundred different phones recognized as distinctive by the International Phonetic Association (IPA) and transcribed in their International Phonetic Alphabet.

Phonetics was studied as early as 2,500 years ago in ancient India, with Pāṇini's account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his 5th century BCE treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today, except Tamil script, order their consonants according to Pāṇini's classification.

See also

External links and references


  • Abercrombie, D. (1967). Elements of General Phonetics. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.
  • Catford, J. C. (1977). Fundamental problems in phonetics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32520-X.
  • Clark, John; & Yallop, Colin. (1995). An introduction to phonetics and phonology (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19452-5.
  • Gussenhoven, C & Broeders, A. (1997). English pronunciation for student teachers. Wolters-Noordhoff BV Groningen, the Netherlands. ISBN 90 01 16703 9
  • Hardcastle, William J.; & Laver, John (Eds.). (1997). The handbook of phonetic sciences. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-18848-7.
  • Ladefoged, Peter. (1982). A course in phonetics (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Ladefoged, Peter. (2003). Phonetic data analysis: An introduction to fieldwork and instrumental techniques. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23269-9 (hbk); ISBN 0-631-23270-2 (pbk).
  • Ladefoged, Peter; & Maddieson, Ian. (1996). The sounds of the world's languages. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-19814-8 (hbk); ISBN 0-631-19815-6 (pbk).
  • Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge studies in speech science and communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Laver, J. (1994).Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Pike, Kenneth L. (1943). Phonetics: A critical analysis of phonetic theory and a technic for the practical description of sounds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Pisoni, David B.; & Remez, Robert E. (Eds.). (2004). The handbook of speech perception. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22927-2.
  • Rogers, Henry. (2000). The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics. Harlow, Essex: Pearson. ISBN 0-582-38182-7.
  • Stevens, Kenneth N. (1998). Acoustic phonetics. Current studies in linguistics (No. 30). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-19404-X.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist.
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Theoretical linguistics is the branch of linguistics that is most concerned with developing models of linguistic knowledge. Part of this endeavor involves the search for and explanation of linguistic universals, that is, properties all languages have in common.
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Phonology (Greek φωνή (phōnē), voice, sound + λόγος (lógos), word, speech, subject of discussion), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a
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Morphology is the field within linguistics that studies the internal structure of words. (Words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology.
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In computer science, SYNTAX is a system used to generate lexical and syntactic analyzers (parsers) (both deterministic and non-deterministic) for all kind of context-free grammars
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Lexical semantics is a subfield of linguistics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote (Pustejovsky, 1995). Words may either be taken to denote things in the world, or concepts, depending on the particular approach to lexical semantics.
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Statistical Semantics is the study of "how the statistical patterns of human word usage can be used to figure out what people mean, at least to a level sufficient for information access" (Furnas, 2006).
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Structural semantics deals with relationships between the meanings of terms within a sentence, and how meaning can be composed from smaller elements.

See also

  • Principle of compositionality
  • Ferdinand de Saussure

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Prototype Theory is a mode of graded categorization in Cognitive Science, where some members of a category are more central than others. For example, when asked to give an example of the concept furniture, chair is more frequently cited than, say, stool.
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Pragmatics is the study of the ability of natural language speakers to communicate more than that which is explicitly stated. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence.
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Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of study that identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related real life problems. Some of the academic fields related to applied linguistics are education, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
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Language acquisition is the process by which the language capability develops in a human. First language acquisition concerns the development of language in children, while second language acquisition focuses on
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Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language.
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Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context on the way language is used. Sociolinguistics overlaps to a considerable degree with pragmatics.
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Linguistic anthropology is that branch of anthropology that brings linguistic methods to bear on anthropological problems, linking the analysis of semiotic and particularly linguistic forms and processes (on both small and large scales) to the interpretation of sociocultural
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Generative linguistics is a school of thought within linguistics that makes use of the concept of a generative grammar. The term "generative grammar" is used in different ways by different people, and the term "generative linguistics" therefore has a range of different,
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In linguistics and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics (CL) refers to the school of linguistics that understands language creation, learning, and usage as best explained by reference to human cognition in general.
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Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the statistical and/or rule-based modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. This modeling is not limited to any particular field of linguistics.
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Descriptive linguistics is the work of analyzing and describing how language is spoken (or how it was spoken in the past) by a group of people in a speech community. All scholarly research in linguistics is descriptive; like all other sciences, its aim is to observe the linguistic
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Historical linguistics (also diachronic linguistics) is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:
  • to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages;

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Comparative linguistics (originally comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages in order to establish their historical relatedness. Languages may be related by convergence through borrowing or by genetic descent.
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Etymology is the study of the history of words - when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.

In languages with a long written history, etymology makes use of philology, the study of how words change from culture to
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Stylistics is the study of varieties of language whose properties position that language in . For example, the language of advertising, politics, religion, individual authors, etc., or the language of a period in time, all belong in a particular situation.
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In linguistics, prescription can refer both to the codification and the enforcement of rules governing how a language is to be used. These rules can cover such topics as standards for spelling and grammar or syntax; or rules for what is deemed socially or politically correct.
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Linguistics as a study endeavors to describe and explain the human faculty of language and has been of scholarly interest throughout recorded history. Contemporary linguistics is the result of a continuous European intellectual tradition originating in ancient Greece that was later
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A linguist in the academic sense is a person who studies linguistics. Ambiguously, the word is sometimes also used to refer to a polyglot (one who knows more than 2 languages), or a grammarian, but these two uses of the word are distinct.
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This article discusses currently unsolved problems in linguistics.

Some of the issues below are commonly recognized as problems per se, i.e., it is general agreement that the solution is unknown. Others may be described as controversies, i.e.
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Writing system: Greek alphabet 
Official status
Official language of:  Greece
 European Union
recognised as minority language in parts of:
 European Union
Regulated by:
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Sound is a disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a wave (through fluids as a compression wave, and through solids as both compression and shear waves).
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