What is linguistics? Discuss linguistics as a science.


The systematic study and evolution of human language are known as linguistics. More precisely, it is the scientific study of language. It can be rightly said that linguistics is the science of language that is the main medium of communication.

According to linguists Richards, Platt, and Weber, “linguistics stands for the study of language as a system of human communication.”

According to R.E. Allen – “Linguistics is the study of language and their structure.”

As per Oxford English Dictionary – “Linguistics is the science of language and a linguist who is skilled in the use of language.”

It studies and deals with various factors and phenomena that are related to language and its many aspects. For example, the sounds of speeches, function of words, psychological aspects, child language acquisition process, and a lot many other scopes. Besides, it studies the language that functions as a means of communication in human society.

Linguistics is considered a science. It can be divided into three branches- descriptive linguistics, Historical or comparative linguistics, and applied linguistics. It connects social science, humanities, and natural science. Anyone interested in languages, psychology, sociology, communication disorders, computer science, and anthropology will be greatly benefitted from linguistics.

Linguistics as a science

Science is considered a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject. Similarly, linguistics is a systematic study of language. As science follows observation and experiment, linguistics does these too. It fulfills the entire prerequisite for being considered a science.

Firstly, the subject matter for linguistics is a language that is mandatory for any scientific method. As science studies and examines the subject matter clearly and explicitly, linguistics also studies language holistically.

Secondly, the study of language is based on an objective observation or investigation. Like any scientific experiment, there is no way linguistics can be subjective. The result is described objectively as well without any subjective bias. This quality makes linguistics as reliable as any scientific investigation.

Thirdly, the result of a scientific study is supposed to be systematically arranged. Such effort is also seen in linguistics study when it tries to show the interrelationship between the subject matters that it deals with. So systematic observation is another necessary part of linguistics that is similar to science.

Fourthly, for empirical and experimental studies in linguistics tools like hypothesis, sampling, instrumentation, and statistical data analysis are used which are followed by inferences.

So it can be said that language analysis for developing linguistics is done quite systematically within the framework of some general theory by making objective observations of actual language data. Also, linguistics follows a large number of principles like ascertaining research needs, formulating a hypothesis, sampling, etc, just like other scientific investigations. That is why linguistics is no less than any scientific study. So we can say that linguistics is a science of language.