Linguistics in Everyday Life
Language use is an inherent human ability and is reflected in almost everything that we do. By reviewing the work of linguistic researchers, one can see the questions raised by language use in everyday life. Do you speak the same way with your parents as you do with your peers? Would you write an academic paper in the same way you would a text message? Have you ever wondered why people speak differently from you? Where do certain words come from? Does the way you speak influence how you think and act?
Below are a series of FAQ pamphlets which provide information on the relevance and importance of linguistics in everyday life.
- How Did Language Begin? (PDF)
- How Many Languages Are There in the World? (PDF)
- Raising Bilingual Children (PDF) (En Español)
- Why Do Some People Have an Accent? (PDF)
- How Can I Communicate With a Relative Who's Had a Stroke? (PDF)
- What is Sign Language? (PDF)
"The Domain of Linguistics" is a series of over 20 articles first published by the Linguistic Society of America in 1982. It was written to explain the discipline to the general public, facilitated by a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Topics include:
- Discourse Analysis- This field examines the natural use of language everyday, including gender differences, gestures, language and politics, among many others.
- Languages in Contact- What happens when cultures are exposed to different languages? In some cases, they may borrow words (ketchup was originally Malaysian for 'fish sauce'), and sometimes new languages emerge.
- Meaning- How do people understand the actual meaning behind the things you say?
- Multilingualism- The majority of the world's population speaks more than one language, and linguists are working to define what it means to truly be multilingual.
- Slips of the Tongue- While slips of the tongue may not provide a lot of evidence about how language changes, they do tell linguists a great deal about how speakers use language to convey what they mean, and the problems that may arise from miscommunication.
- Sociolinguistics- How we use language in a social context tells us a lot about what we know about a language and its importance in society.