Language is central to virtually all human activity. Indeed, many argue that language was the single most important factor in the differentiation of the human species from other hominids. Linguists study language as a specialized communicative system with its own distinctive principles of structure and patterning. Apart from the traditional subfields of phonology (the patterning of speech sounds), morphology (word-building processes), and syntax (rules of phrase and sentence formation), there are the interdisciplinary research areas with connections to philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and literature. These include semantics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and linguistic anthropology.
A BA or MA in linguistics permits a student to explore both the independent and interdisciplinary aspects of human language. Courses focus on the analysis of language both at a given point in time and as it changes over time, and cover diverse contemporary approaches to data.
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