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[Portal] Linguistics

For a topical guide of this subject, see Outline of linguistics

Welcome to the Linguistics Portal!

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves analysing language form, language meaning, and language in context. Linguists traditionally analyse human language by observing an interplay between sound and meaning. 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 focuses on how languages change and grow, particularly over an extended period of time.

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.

Related areas of study include 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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Most modern English speakers think of "thou" as a relic of Shakespeare's day

The word thou was a second person singular pronoun in English. It is now largely archaic, having been replaced in almost all contexts by "you". Thou is the nominative form; the oblique/objective form is thee (functioning as both accusative and dative), and the possessive is thy or thine. Originally, thou was simply the singular counterpart to the plural pronoun ye, derived from an ancient Indo-European root. In imitation of continental practice, thou was later used to express intimacy, familiarity, or even disrespect while another pronoun, you, the oblique/objective form of ye, was used for formal circumstances (see T–V distinction). After thou fell out of fashion, it was primarily retained in fixed ritual settings, so that for some speakers, it came to connote solemnity or even formality. Thou persists, sometimes in altered form, in regional dialects of England and Scotland. The disappearance of the singular-plural distinction has been compensated for through the use of neologisms in various dialects. Colloquial American English, for example, contains plural constructions that vary regionally, including y'all, youse, and you guys. (more...)

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The number 605 in Khmer Numerals


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