1. What is Linguistics About?
  2. What is a Language?
  3. What is a Linguist?
  • What is Linguistics About?
  • The one penny answer is that it is the study of languages. That is a perfectly good answer, but it does not provide any real understanding of anything. It is a manipulation of words with similar morphology. That is a fundamental problem of linguistics, or more fundamentally a problem of communication which is what linguistics is really about to begin with.

  • What is a Language?
  • As with many other questions, the meaning (semantics) of the question depends on who is being asked.

  • What is a Linguist?
  • A linguist is a someone who pretends to know about languages but who does not actually speak any language, yet somehow manages to make money in the pretense. That is an essential problem of modern lingustics; it is the general problem with modern academe in these days of concepts and language being turned on their heads. Some modern linguists are simply frustrated and untalented mathematicians who need something to do. Being a mathematician, I am unphased by the efforts to be obfuscatory; I have been obfuscatoriated by experts. Of course I know "obfuscatoriated" is not a word. "Se non è vero, è bene trovatto."



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    Created: August 14, 2003
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