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|Applied and experimental|
Anthropological linguistics is the study of the relations between language and culture and the relations between human biology, cognition and language. This strongly overlaps the field of linguistic anthropology, which is the branch of anthropology that studies humans through the languages that they use.
Anthropological linguistics has had a major impact in the studies of such areas as visual perception (especially colour) and bioregional democracy, both of which are concerned with distinctions that are made in languages about perceptions of the surroundings.
Conventional linguistic anthropology also has implications for sociology and self-organization of peoples. Study of the Penan people, for instance, reveals that their language employs six different and distinct words whose best English translation is "we". Anthropological linguistics studies these distinctions, and relates them to types of societies and to actual bodily adaptation to the senses, much as it studies distinctions made in languages regarding the colours of the rainbow: seeing the tendency to increase the diversity of terms, as evidence that there are distinctions that bodies in this environment must make, leading to situated knowledge and perhaps a situated ethics, whose final evidence is the differentiated set of terms used to denote "we".
Anthropological linguistics is concerned with
- Descriptive (or synchronic) linguistics: Describing dialects (forms of a language used by a specific speech community). This study includes phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and grammar.
- Historical (or diachronic) linguistics: Describing changes in dialects and languages over time. This study includes the study of linguistic divergence and language families, comparative linguistics, etymology, and philology.
- Ethnolinguistics: Analyzing the relationship between culture, thought, and language.
- Sociolinguistics: Analyzing the social functions of language and the social, political, and economic relationships among and between members of speech communities.