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July 19, 2011

Are You A Linguist?

Are you a linguist? I am a total word nerd, but that may be an informal term for what I really am...

...a linguist.

Are you a linguist? You just might be. You can check out one definition here - http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Linguistics.

Here's an excerpt from that website - linguistics is the "scientific study of language, systematic communication by vocal symbols. It is a universal characteristic of the human species. Nothing is known of its origin, although scientists have identified a gene that clearly contributes to the human ability to use language".

Linguistics also involves the study of the relationship between words and meanings as well as the history of the relations of languages to each other and the cultural place of language in human behavior.

If you are anywhere near the word nerd I am, you might also like to investigate linguistlist.org http://linguistlist.org.

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics professors and graduate students.

There are many great academic programs if you want to pursue linguistics, Here's two - http://depts.washington.edu/lingweb/ and http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/index.php.

If those are a bit dense for you, here's a more basic introduction to the field of linguistics - http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/linguistics.aspx.

Each language has its unique history, flavor and personality. And I'm always amazed at how much it is possible to get across with extremely limited vocabulary. Perhaps there is some sort of human way of connecting that is beyond - or somehow complementary to spoken and written language.

Either way, there is a lot to human language that allows us to cross boundaries and make our thoughts and needs known to others.

I confess to being a word nerd, and I love the many possibilities and contradictions in a language as flexible and fluid as English.

Send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf is currently a radio host (http://www.tacoma.fm/) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/ and would love to do either one of those somewhere else in the world.

Posted by mmorf at July 19, 2011 12:56 AM


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