- The definition of linguistics is the scientific study of language.
The study of the English language is an example of linguistics.
linguistics definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics: sometimes subdivided into descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical, and geographical linguisticsoften general linguistics
- the study of the structure, development, etc. of a particular language and its relationship to other languages: English linguistics
Origin: ; from linguistic
linguistics definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
noun (used with a sing. verb)
The study of the nature, structure, and variation of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.
linguistics - Ologies & -Isms Definition
betacism 1. excessive use of the sound b. 2. improper articulation of this sound. —betacist, n. biolinguistics the study of the relations between physiology and speech. —biolinguist, n. cherology the description and analysis of the distinctive units used in the sign language of the deaf. —cherologist, n. —cherologic, cherological, adj. diachrony the study and description of the change or development in the structural systems of a language over a stated period of time. Also called historical linguistics. Cf. synchronic linguistics. —diachronic, adj. dialect a variety of a language peculiar to a particular region or group within a larger community, usually but not always existing in the spoken form only. —dialectal, adj. dialect geography the study of dialects with regard to their geographic distribution, as well as how their distribution may be affected by geography, e.g., the spread of a particular dialect being halted at a mountain range, forest belt, body of water, etc. dialectology 1. the study of dialects and dialect features. 2. the linguistic features of a dialect. —dialectician, dialectologist, n. —dialectologie, dialectological, adj. echoism 1. the formation of sounds like those in nature; onomatopoesis. 2. the tendency of paired sounds to become more similar phonetically, as the d sound in iced tea which has become a t; assimilation. —echoic, adj. etymology the study of the origin and history of individual words. —etymologist, n. —etymological, adj. folk etymology the reanalysis of a word by native speakers into a new element or elements, e.g. hamburger (properly ‘from Hamburg’) being split into ham- and -burger; and the subsequent combination of -burger with a number of words in which it is used to mean ‘ground patty.’ gammacism, gammacismus the inability to pronounce the soft palatal consonants such as g and k. geolinguistics the study or science of linguistics in relation to geography. —geolinguist, n. —geolinguistic, adj. glossematics the science or study of glossemes, the smallest unit of linguistic communication. —glossematic, adj. glossologist Archaic. 1. a linguist; a philologist. 2. one who compiles glossaries. glossology Archaic. linguistics. glottochronology a statistical and lexical study of two languages deriving from a common source to determine the time of their divergence, as English and German. Cf. lexicostatistics. —glottochronologist, n. —glottochronological, adj. glottology the science of linguistics. grammar 1. the study of the formal system of a language, especially the aspects of sound, forms, and syntax. 2. a work detailing such an analysis. —grammarian, n. —grammatic, grammatical, adj. graphemics the study of systems of writing and their relationship to the systems of the languages they represent. Also called graphonomy. —graphemic, adj. hybridism 1. a word formed from elements drawn from different languages. 2. the practice of coining such words. —hybrid, n., adj. idiolect a person’s individual speech habits. lallation Phonetics. 1. the replacement of l for r in speech. 2. the mispronunciation of l. Cf. lambdacism. lambdacism Phonetics. the mispronunciation of double l, giving it the sound of y or ly. 2. Cf. rhotacism. substitution of the sound l for another sound, as that of r. Also labdacism. Cf. lallation. lexicography the writing, editing, or compiling of dictionaries. —lexicographer, n. —lexicographic, lexicographical, adj. lexicology the study of the meanings of words and of idiomatic combinations. —lexicologist, n. —lexicologic, lexicological, adj. lexicostatistics the study of languages and their vocabularies by statistical methods for historical purposes. Cf. glottochronology. —lexicostatistic, lexicostatistical, adj. lexigraphy Rare. the art of defining words or compiling lexicons. —lexigraphic, adj. linguistic typology the classification of languages by structural similarity, e.g., similarity of syntactic or phonemic features, as opposed to classification on the basis of shared linguistic ancestry. metalinguistics the science or study of language in relation to its cultural context. —metalinguist, n. —metalinguistic, metalinguistical, adj. morphemics the study and description of the morphemes of a language, i.e., its minimum grammatical units, as wait and -ed in waited. —morphemicist, n. morphology 1. a branch of linguistics that studies and describes patterns of word formation, including inflection, derivation, and compounding of a language. 2. such patterns of a particular language. —morphologist, n. —morphological, adj. morphophonemics 1. the study of the relations between morphemes and their phonetic realizations, components, or distribution contexts. 2. the body of data concerning these relations in a specific language. —morphophonemicist, n. —morphophonemic, adj. nasalism a tendency toward nasality in pronouncing words. Also nasality. onomasiology onomastics. —onomasiologist, n. —onomasiologic, onomasiological, adj. onomastics the study of names and their origins. —onomastic, adj. —onomastician, n. orthoepy the study of correct pronunciation. —orthoepist, n. —orthoepic, orthoepical, orthoepistic, adj. paronymy the state or condition of containing the same root or stem, as perilous and parlous. —paronym, n. philology 1. the study of written records to determine their authenticity, original form, and meaning. 2. linguistics, especially historical linguistics. —philologist, philologer, n. —philologic, philological, adj. phonematics phonemics. phonemics 1. the study and description of phonemes, i.e., the set of basic units of sound used in a language and phonemic systems. 2. the phonemic system of a given language. Also phonematics. —phonemicist, n. phonetics 1. the science or study of speech sounds and their production, transmission, and perception, and their analysis, classification, and transcription. 2. the science or study of speech sounds with respect to their role in distinguishing meanings among words. 3. the phonetic system of a particular language. Cf. phonology. —phonetician, n. —phonetic, phonetical, adj. phonology 1. the study of the history and theory of sound changes in a language or in two or more languages comparatively. 2. the phonetics and phonemics of a language at a stated time; synchronic phonology. —phonologist, n. —phonological, adj. psycholinguistics the study of the relationships between language and the behavioral mechanisms of its users, especially in language learning by children. —psycholinguist, n. —psycholinguistic, adj. rhotacism Phonetics. 1. a misarticulation of the sound r or the substitution of another sound for it. 2. Cf. lambdacism. substitution of the sound sound r for another sound, as that of l. 2. the excessive use of the sound r. 3. Phonology. replacement of the sound z or s by r in Indo-European languages, as German wesen, English were. —rhotacize, v. —rhotacistic, adj. semantics 1. the study of the meaning of words. 2. the study of linguistic development by examining and classifying changes in meaning. Also called semasiology, sematology, semology. —semanticist, n. —semantic, adj. semasiology semantics. semeiology, semiology the study or science of signs; semantics. —semeiologist, semiologist, n. —semeiologic, semiologic, semeiological, semiological, adj. semiotics, semiotic the study of the relationship between symbology and language. —semiotician, semioticist, n. sigmatism a faulty pronunciation of sibilant sounds. structuralism an emphasis in research and description upon the systematic relations of formal distinctions in a given language. Also called structural linguistics. —structuralist, n. synchronic linguistics the study of the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of a language at a stated time. Also called descriptive linguistics. Cf. diachronism. syntax the study of the principles by which words are used in phrases and sentences to construct meaningful combinations. —syntactic, syntactical, adj. tagmemics the study of the tagmemes of a language, i.e., the minimal units of grammatical construction, embodying such phenomena as distinctive word order and grammatical agreement. —tagmemic, adj. tonetics the phonetic study and science of the tonal aspects of language. —tonetician, n. —tonetic, adj. transformationalist an advocate or student of the theory of transformational grammar, a system of grammatical analysis that uses transformations of base sentences to explain the relations between thought and its syntactic manifestation and to express the relations between elements in a sentence, clause, or phrase, or between different forms of a word or phrase, as active or passive forms of a verb. vocalism Phonetics. the system of vowels in a given language. —vocalic, adj.