ability to speak and to understand language is an innate human
attribute. All of us can use language to express knowledge, ideas,
attitudes, and experiences but very few of us question this ability and
are aware of it. Linguists are a group of people who are aware of the
human ability to use language and who are trying to study properties of
language as a system of symbols which people in different societies use
to communicate with one another.
Linguistics is not a subject which aims at
developing skills in using languages. Rather, it is a subject which
aims to study properties of language by means of various linguistic
theories and scientific research methodology. Linguists consider
language a social activity performed by humans being. Although Thai and
English look different in the eyes of layman, for linguists these two
languages have both similar and different properties as other languages
in the world.
Linguistics subdivides into two major branches, namely, (i) pure or general linguistics, and (ii) applied linguistics.
or general linguistics Pure linguistics aims to study general
properties of language independently from other disciplines. In
addition, it studies linguistic properties primarily for its own sake,
not for application purposes. Linguists view language as consisting of
various levels, namely, the phonological level, the lexical level, the
syntactic level, the semantic level, and the discourse level. In
addition, there are two approaches to the studying of linguistics. The
first approach is the synchronic study, which deals with a study of
language at a certain point in time. The second approach is the
diachronic study, which aims at studying language as it changes through
2.Applied linguistics Applied linguistics
studies language in connection with other disciplines for application
purposes. The disciplines that can be brought to study with linguistics
include sociology, ethnography, psychology, education, computer
science, and neurology.
||Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330
Tel: 0-2218-4692 Fax: 0-2218-4695
© 2004. All Rights Reserved.