Portal:Linguistics

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For a topical guide of this subject, see Outline of linguistics

Welcome to the Linguistics Portal!

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them.

The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Each of these areas roughly corresponds to phenomena found in human linguistic systems: sounds (and gesture, in the case of signed languages), minimal units (words, morphemes), phrases and sentences, and meaning and use.

Linguistics studies these phenomena in diverse ways and from various perspectives. Theoretical linguistics (including traditional descriptive linguistics) is concerned with building models of these systems, their parts (ontologies), and their combinatorics. Psycholinguistics builds theories of the processing and production of all these phenomena. These phenomena may be studied synchronically or diachronically (through history), in monolinguals or polyglots, in children or adults, as they are acquired or statically, as abstract objects or as embodied cognitive structures, using texts (corpora) or through experimental elicitation, by gathering data mechanically, through fieldwork, or through introspective judgment tasks. Computational linguistics implements theoretical constructs to parse or produce natural language or homologues. Neurolinguistics investigates linguistic phenomena by experiments on actual brain responses involving linguistic stimuli.

Linguistics is related to philosophy of language, stylistics and rhetoric, semiotics, lexicography, and translation. (Full article...)

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Nahua woman from the Florentine Codex

Nahuatl is a group of related languages and dialects of the Aztecan, or Nahuan, branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, all of which are indigenous to Mesoamerica and are spoken by an estimated 1.5 million Nahua people, mostly in Central Mexico. Nahuatl has been spoken in Central Mexico since at least the 7th century AD. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the early 16th century it was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The expansion and influence of the Aztec Empire led to the dialect spoken by the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan becoming a prestige language in Mesoamerica in this period. With the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl also became a literary language and many chronicles, grammars, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in the 16th and 17th centuries. This early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan dialect has been labeled Classical Nahuatl and is among the most-studied and best-documented languages of the Americas. Today, Nahuan dialects are spoken in scattered communities mostly in rural areas. There are considerable differences between dialects and some are mutually unintelligible. No modern dialects are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are generally more closely related to it than those on the periphery. (more...)

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