Linguists are engaged in a multiplicity of studies, some of which bear little direct relationship to
each other. This is an incomplete list of the branches of linguistics, new ones continue to arise.
The study of speech sounds; how they are produced in the vocal tract (articulatory
phonetics), how they are transmitted through the air (acousticphonetics), and how they are
perceived by the listener (auditory phonetics).
The study of the sound system of language; how the particular sounds used in each
language form an integrated system for encoding information and how such systems differ from
one language to another.
The study of the way in which words are constructed out of smaller units which havea
meaning or grammatical function, for example the word friendly is constructed from friend and the
The compiling of dictionaries. Lexicography could be seen as a branch of applied
The study of how words combine to form sentences and the rules which govern the
formation of sentences.
The study of meaning;how words and sentences are related to the real or imaginary
objects they refer to and the situations they describe.
The study of the use of language in communication, particularly the relationships between
sentences and the contexts and situations in which they are used such as time, place, social
relationship between speaker and hearer, and speaker’s assumptions aboutthe hearer’s belief. Introduction to English Linguistics – General
The study of language in relation to social factors such as social class, educational level,
age, sex and ethnic origin. Such areas as the study of language choice in bilingual or multilingual
communities, language planning or language attitudes can also be included.
Discourse Analysis:The study of how sentences in spoken and written language form larger meaningful units
such as paragraphs, conversations, interviews etc.
The study of that variation in language which is dependent on the situation in which the
language is used and also on the effect the writer/speaker wishes to create on the reader/hearer.
Stylistics tries to establish principles capableof explaining the particular choices made by
individuals and social groups in their use of language.
The analysis of literary texts applying linguistic methods and theories (phonetics,
morphology, syntax, discourse analysis, pragmatics, etc.) with the aim of providing retrievable
interpretations which allow comparisons of different texts, genres (fiction, drama andpoetry) etc.
The study of the mental processes underlying the planning, production, perception and
comprehension of speech, for example how memory limitations affect speech production and
comprehension. The best developed branch of psycholinguistics is the study of language
The study of the brain and how it functions in theproduction, perception, and acquisition of
language as well as disorders like aphasia.
A branch of linguistics which studies the development of language and languages over
time; also known as diachronic linguistics. Historical linguistics uses the methods of the various branches of linguistics (including sociolinguistics, especially in considering the reasons forlanguage change). One thus encounters such subfields as “historical phonology/ morphology/ syntax” etc. Introduction to English Linguistics – General
The application of the methods and results of linguistics to such areas as language
teaching; national language policies; translation; language in politics, advertising, classrooms and