What is Linguistics? A Short Guide to Linguistics for Beginner

In English class, have you ever wondered why the questions in the TOEFL listening session were mostly “What does the woman imply?” ? I mean, if the woman has a specific purpose or motive in her sentence, why does she have to bother making it implicit and instead mess around our heads – the TOEFL participants? Why???

Have you ever wondered, why if there are two mice, we have to call them two mice in English, instead of two mouses ? Why is the way to read the words tree and three different, even though the letters are only one? Why???

Questions like these are questions that encourage the interest in learning of black linguistic valley people .

Get to know linguistics

So, what is Linguistics really?

Simply put, this one science is the science that focuses on language and its use as a communication tool. Linguistics will take you to learn the structure of language and all aspects that surround it, including psychology and sociology.

Quoted from the page of The University of Arizona , there are at least a few branches of Linguistics, as follows:

  1. Phonetics / Phonetics
  2. Phonology / Phonology
  3. Morphology / Morphology
  4. Syntax / Syntax
  5. Semantics / Semantics
  6. Pragmatics / Pragmatics

You will study these six in the first semester (at least until semester 4 or 5), with a note: Phonetics and Phonology generally will be put together.

So, what are discussed in these six branches of Linguistics?

First , phonetics and phonology.

This knowledge will make you familiar with the dictionary – I guarantee. He studies the sounds that appear in language pronunciation, including how to produce certain sounds and distinguish them from other sounds. You will understand vowels, consonants and even diphthongs in the language you are learning, complete with how they are pronounced and used.


Also read:   Dear English Warrior, Protect Yourself from the Invasion of Grammar Mistakes


For example, in English, the consonants “B” and “P” have different characters. “B” is considered a voiced consonant , while “P” is an unvoiced consonant. How do you distinguish?

Say “B” (/ bi /) while putting your hand in your throat – feels vibrations, right? This will not be encountered when you say “P” (/ pi: /).

In some other languages, the sounds “B” and “P” are no different. So, studying phonology is important if you want to understand English more. Roughly so, yes, Sis ~

Second , Morphology.

This branch of Linguistics studies morpheme, which is the smallest part of language that has meaning. In other words, the science of this one is the most kepo science, namely researching up to the most detailed pieces in the language.

In English, for example, Morphologi will mention that the word unvoiced is divided into three parts: un (which indicates the negation of an action); voice (shows the results of an action in the form of sound); and -d (showing action in the form of a passive adjective ).

Third , syntax .

The only thing I remember from this course is that the textbooks are moss green. Although the word “moss” is often sliced ​​so “cute and cute”, Syntax or Syntax is not very funny.

This study studies language patterns, including how noun phrases are formed, as well as clauses and sentences. After all, these rules are not always the same in each language. For example, in English, we call a beautiful girl (a noun phrase that comes from the combination of adjective + noun ), while in Indonesian we call it a beautiful girl, with an inverse rule: noun + adjective.

Fourth , Semantics and Pragmatics. I make this section one because they love each other the topics discussed are the same: meaning in language.


Also read:   Google Translate the (Suspected) Gender and Sexist Bias


Semantics or Semantics in Linguistics focuses on relations between words, phrases, including how the meaning of the words. In this knowledge also, we know that a word can give many meanings, or simply called polysemy.

Pragmatics or Pragmatics both learn about meaning, unless it is more … pragmatic.

If you still remember the original question in this paper – that is the question in the TOEFL listening session – you can make it an example of the meaning of discussion in Pragmatics. There is a meaning that is tucked between one person’s question to another person, for example the question “Do you want some coffee?” we say to friends who look sleepy while trying hard overtime to do thesis revision .

More “Linguistic” Linguistics

Not all six branches of linguistics above. If you study linguistics, later you will also meet other branches of Linguistics, such as Sociolinguistics / Sociolinguistics , Psycholinguistics / Psycholinguistics , Discourse Analysis , or even Applied Linguistics, for example Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

I will not say it’s easy to learn and fun Linguistics, was wong fact that I just never ngulang college Semantics one semester. But, well, like a living, studying linguistics was still worth it, anyway


by Abdullah Sam
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