Theoretical linguistics is the branch of linguistics which inquires into the nature of language itself and seeks to answer fundamental questions as to what language is; how it works; how universal grammar (UG) as a domain-specific mental organ operates; what are its unique properties; how does language relate to other cognitive processes, etc. Theoretical linguists are most concerned with constructing models of linguistic knowledge, and ultimately developing a linguistic theory. The fields that are generally considered the core of theoretical linguistics are phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Although phonetics often guides phonology, it is often excluded from the purview of theoretical linguistics, along with sociolinguistics. Theoretical linguistics also involves the search for an explanation of linguistic universals, that is, properties that all, or many languages have in common.
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1 Major fields
1.1.1 Articulatory phonetics 1.1.2 Auditory phonetics 1.1.3 Acoustic phonetics
1.2 Phonology 1.3 Morphology 1.4 Syntax 1.5 Semantics
2 See also 3 References
Major fields Further information: grammar, formal grammar, and grammar framework Phonetics
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2008)
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds with concentration on three main points :
Articulation : the production of speech sounds in human speech organs. Perception : the way human ears respond to speech signals, how the human brain analyses them. Acoustic features : physical characteristics of speech sounds such as, loudness, amplitude, frequency etc.
According to this definition, phonetics can also be called linguistic
analysis of human speech at the surface level. That is one obvious
difference from phonology, which concerns the structure and
organisation of speech sounds in natural languages, and furthermore
has a theoretical and abstract nature. One example can be made to
illustrate this distinction: In English, the suffix -s can represent
either /s/, /z/, or can be silent (written Ø) depending on context.
The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics. In
studying articulation, phoneticians attempt to document how humans
produce speech sounds (vowels and consonants). That is, articulatory
phoneticians are interested in how the different structures of the
vocal tract, called the articulators (tongue, lips, jaw, palate, teeth
etc.), interact to create the specific sounds.
Auditory phonetics is a branch of phonetics concerned with the
hearing, acquisition and comprehension of phonetic sounds of words of
a language. As articulatory phonetics explores the methods of sound
production, auditory phonetics explores the methods of reception—the
ear to the brain, and those processes.
Acoustic phonetics is a subfield of phonetics which deals with
acoustic aspects of speech sounds.
Acoustic phonetics investigates
properties like the mean squared amplitude of a waveform, its
duration, its fundamental frequency, or other properties of its
frequency spectrum, and the relationship of these properties to other
branches of phonetics (e.g. articulatory or auditory phonetics), and
to abstract linguistic concepts like phones, phrases, or utterances.
Further information: Phonology
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Ottenheimer, H.J. (2006). The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Canada: Thomas Wadsworth.