As users of a language, native speakers know a lot more than they think they do about it. Look at this example:
*Bill handed the Kim to book.
“It just seems to me that being able to demonstrate that certain things are possible seems to be the first step that might actually encourage other individuals to want to do something similar with respect to some performance that they are passionate [about] or interested in improving.” -K Anders Ericsson
One of the most powerful effects of learning linguistics is to show you that something that you see, at the outset, as impossibly complex and unrelentingly difficult ends up being something that you can master. Not the person who was born speaking the language, not the person who lived for 2 years in France, but you yourself. You yourself can learn a language. Any language. And with the help of linguistics, you will no longer be stabbing in the dark, trying to learn by mere exposure, but rather approaching the language systematically – a language is, after all, a system – and figuring it out from the ground up, and with the help of professional scaffolding. Linguistics is powerful, and it will be powerful for you.
Linguistics as a discipline is split into many parts. Like in any science, there are focuses within the study that represent branchings off of the discipline into sub-fields; all of these sub-fields come together to reveal insights about human language and how it relates to other pieces of the world around us. Here, we’re going to review just a few, to whet your proverbial whistle for linguistics and what we can learn from it.
Linguistics is fascinating.
More specifically, linguistics is the study of the science of language. By this I mean that linguistics focuses on describing the systems of language use in humans – by definition, humans are the only species to possess language. Following is a summary of the field, short but sweet.