To what extent can Linguistics be considered as a science? or why linguistics is the scientific study? People also ask if linguistics is social science. We will discuss the scientific study of Language.
In general, we tell the scientific study of language as Linguistics. The aims of Linguistics are to discuss the different faculty of language and how does it work? At the same time, it describes the working procedures of language. Linguistics observe and try to understand carefully the patterns of a language, comprehension principles of our brains and production of language.
The word linguistic has been derived from the Latin word Lingua (tongue) and -istics (knowledge and science). It is a study not only of one particular language but of human languages in general. It attempts to describe and analyze languages. It includes the following subareas.
It describes and explains the following branches or sub-areas of linguistics.
- Phonetics – Describe the study of human speech, how it produces, acoustics, and hears
- Phonology – Describe the system of sounds
- Morphology – Describe the form of words
- Syntax – Process or rules of the structure of sentences
- Semantics – Describe the meaning of word or sentence
- Pragmatics – Analyze the context of language
First of all, we will see if Linguistic follow scientific ways to explain the language. We get the scientific approaches including objectivity, rationalism, empiricism, exhaustiveness, consistency, and economy in the study of language. Let’s take a deeper look.
Objectivity: As objectivity, the linguistics will consider all languages in an equal sense. For a linguist, all the language in the world is equal except primitive pure, beautiful cultural and sophisticated languages. It is so difficult to attain objectivity due to familiarity with the language and hard to dissociate ourselves in equal view. The obstacles of objective study in any language come from past experience on various cultural, social and historical misconceptions for a language.
Empiricism: Linguistics is basically an empirical, not a theoretical only. It examines the specific data, and work with variables and justifiable. It formulates the theory to take decisions. It analyzes the data to study the rule of Linguistics.
Exhaustiveness: To make Linguistics a dependable source of data and to provide a complete element it deals with the facts of all relevant data that find out the scope of linguistic systematically.
Consistency: As like other science, Linguistics is consistent and there are no contradictory statements. The whole parts of a language are analyzed to explain the matters.
Economy: There is a little scope of repetition. Otherwise, it describes the elements that are reusable with the use of formulas.
Rationalism: It examines the old world source and how Language comes with the acquisition of knowledge.
Scientific characteristics of linguistics
Linguists study language systematically based on observations, hypothesis formation, testing, verification, tentativeness, and productiveness. As a scientific study, linguistics is objective, precise and systematic. It makes generalization and predictions about language scientifically.
According to Crystal (1997), “Linguistics is the scientific study of language”. Some reasons for referring to linguistics as science and how linguistics be science are described below.
1. Etymologically, the word linguistics is derived from Latin ‘Lingua’ which means ‘Tongue’ or ‘Speech’ and ‘-istics’ which means ‘Knowledge’ or ‘Science’. Hence, the term ‘Linguistics’ refers to scientific analysis or study of language or speech.
2. A well-defined subject matter: We know that every branch of science must have a well-defined subject-matter for analysis. Linguistics also has such a subject that is ”Language”.
3. Well-organized Methodology and Procedure: Linguistics employs careful and systematic methodologies to observe record and analyzes various phenomena of language.
4. Objective observation and Investigation based study: The observations made by the linguists are very much objective and investigation-based.
5. Empirical and Experimental Studies: Linguistic research requires proper empirical observations. Besides, the linguists do experimental researches for hypothesis-formation, sampling, instrumentation, statistical survey and data analysis.