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Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and it involves an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in context. The earliest activities in the documentation and description of language have been attributed to the 6th century BC Indian grammarian Pāṇini who wrote a formal description of the Sanskrit language in his Aṣṭādhyāyī.

Linguists traditionally analyse human language by observing an interplay between sound and meaning. Phonetics is the study of speech and non-speech sounds, and delves into their acoustic and articulatory properties. The study of language meaning, on the other hand, deals with how languages encode relations between entities, properties, and other aspects of the world to convey, process, and assign meaning, as well as manage and resolve ambiguity. While the study of semantics typically concerns itself with truth conditions, pragmatics deals with how situational context influences the production of meaning.

Grammar is a system of rules which governs the production and use of utterances in a given language. These rules apply to sound as well as meaning, and include componential subsets of rules, such as those pertaining to phonology (the organisation of phonetic sound systems), morphology (the formation and composition of words), and syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and sentences). Modern theories that deal with the principles of grammar are largely based within Noam Chomsky's framework of generative linguistics.

In the early 20th century, Ferdinand de Saussure distinguished between the notions of langue and parole in his formulation of structural linguistics. According to him, parole is the specific utterance of speech, whereas langue refers to an abstract phenomenon that theoretically defines the principles and system of rules that govern a language. This distinction resembles the one made by Noam Chomsky between competence and performance in his theory of transformative or generative grammar. According to Chomsky, competence is an individual's innate capacity and potential for language (like in Saussure's langue), while performance is the specific way in which it is used by individuals, groups, and communities (i.e., parole, in Saussurean terms).

The study of parole (which manifests through cultural discourses and dialects) is the domain of sociolinguistics, the sub-discipline that comprises the study of a complex system of linguistic facets within a certain speech community (governed by its own set of grammatical rules and laws). Discourse analysis further examines the structure of texts and conversations emerging out of a speech community's usage of language. This is done through the collection of linguistic data, or through the formal discipline of corpus linguistics, which takes naturally occurring texts and studies the variation of grammatical and other features based on such corpora (or corpus data).

Stylistics also involves the study of written, signed, or spoken discourse through varying speech communities, genres, and editorial or narrative formats in the mass media. In the 1960s, Jacques Derrida, for instance, further distinguished between speech and writing, by proposing that written language be studied as a linguistic medium of communication in itself. Palaeography is therefore the discipline that studies the evolution of written scripts (as signs and symbols) in language. The formal study of language also led to the growth of fields like psycholinguistics, which explores the representation and function of language in the mind; neurolinguistics, which studies language processing in the brain; biolinguistics, which studies the biology and evolution of language; and language acquisition, which investigates how children and adults acquire the knowledge of one or more languages.

Linguistics also deals with the social, cultural, historical and political factors that influence language, through which linguistic and language-based context is often determined. Research on language through the sub-branches of historical and evolutionary linguistics also focus on how languages change and grow, particularly over an extended period of time.

Language documentation combines anthropological inquiry (into the history and culture of language) with linguistic inquiry, in order to describe languages and their grammars. Lexicography involves the documentation of words that form a vocabulary. Such a documentation of a linguistic vocabulary from a particular language is usually compiled in a dictionary. Computational linguistics is concerned with the statistical or rule-based modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. Specific knowledge of language is applied by speakers during the act of translation and interpretation, as well as in language education – the teaching of a second or foreign language. Policy makers work with governments to implement new plans in education and teaching which are based on linguistic research.

Related areas of study also includes the disciplines of semiotics (the study of direct and indirect language through signs and symbols), literary criticism (the historical and ideological analysis of literature, cinema, art, or published material), translation (the conversion and documentation of meaning in written/spoken text from one language or dialect onto another), and speech-language pathology (a corrective method to cure phonetic disabilities and dis-functions at the cognitive level).

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Matching Linguistics Colleges

University of California-Los Angeles
Four or more years; Public; $39,516 average out-state tuition; $11,502 average in-state tuition
California State University-Long Beach
Four or more years; Public; $17,622 average out-state tuition; $5,742 average in-state tuition
Brigham Young University-Provo
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $5,460 average out-state tuition; $5,460 average in-state tuition
Georgetown University
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $51,720 average out-state tuition; $51,720 average in-state tuition
University of California-Santa Barbara
Four or more years; Public; $39,516 average out-state tuition; $11,502 average in-state tuition
University of Florida
Four or more years; Public; $25,694 average out-state tuition; $4,477 average in-state tuition
Montclair State University
Four or more years; Public; $18,920 average out-state tuition; $10,808 average in-state tuition

Scholarships for Linguistics Majors

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Boren Fellowship

National Security Education Program

Up to $24,000 January 29, 2020 See Details

Boren Fellowship

National Security Education Program

award

Up to $24,000

deadline

January 29, 2020
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Holzbock Humanities Scholarship

Oakland University

$3,000 Varies See Details

Holzbock Humanities Scholarship

Oakland University

award

$3,000

deadline

Varies
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Myrna Lee Sprengler Memorial Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

$2,500 Varies See Details

Myrna Lee Sprengler Memorial Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

award

$2,500

deadline

Varies
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William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

$2,000 Varies See Details

William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
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Robert W. Carithers Scholarship for Arts and Humanities

University of Southern Indiana

$2,000 Varies See Details

Robert W. Carithers Scholarship for Arts and Humanities

University of Southern Indiana

award

$2,000

deadline

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Arts and Science Alumni Affiliate Scholarship - Oakland University

Oakland University

$2,000 Varies See Details

Arts and Science Alumni Affiliate Scholarship - Oakland University

Oakland University

award

$2,000

deadline

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Regeneron Science Talent Search

Society for Science and the Public

Up to $250,000 November 13, 2019 See Details

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Society for Science and the Public

award

Up to $250,000

deadline

November 13, 2019
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Doug and Dianne Taylor Scholarship

University of Montana, Missoula - College of Arts and Sciences

$1,100 Varies See Details

Doug and Dianne Taylor Scholarship

University of Montana, Missoula - College of Arts and Sciences

award

$1,100

deadline

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Michael Hodge Memorial Scholarship

Galveston College

$1,000 Varies See Details

Michael Hodge Memorial Scholarship

Galveston College

award

$1,000

deadline

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Linda Ziegler Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarship

Trident Technical College

$1,000 Varies See Details

Linda Ziegler Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarship

Trident Technical College

award

$1,000

deadline

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