The previous post has focused on applied linguistics (L.). This post focuses on theoretical L.
Theoretical L. is a branch of L. that is focused on developing linguistic knowledge in general (e.g. what are the linguistic levels of any language) and concrete models in particular (e.g. how the phonemes are organized in a given language).
Theoretical L. has several branches:
- Phonology – see “What is linguistics?” post for the details.
- Graphemics (graphematics) – studies particular writing systems and their basic units (graphemes).
- Morphology – see “What is linguistics?” post for the details.
- Lexicology (from Gr. λέξις “word”) – studies lexis (the total word-stock of a language).
- Syntax – see “What is linguistics?” post for the details.
- Semantics – see “What is linguistics?” post for the details.
- Pragmatics – see “What is linguistics?” post for the details.
- Quantitative L. – uses statistical methods to solve linguistic tasks. It can focus on the structure of natural languages or such practical areas as language education, internet L. (e.g. the frequency of use of a particular linguistic phenomenon), and stylistics.
- Generative L. – is looking for ways (rules) according to which a particular language functions and tries to predict general (hence “generative”) features natural to all languages. See the post on generative grammar for more detail.
- Functional grammar – “theoretical approach to the description and explanation of linguistic phenomena based on their various functions” (Bussmann, 2006, p.439). See the post on SFL functional perspective for more detail.
- Cognitive L. (= cognitive psychology (Bussmann, 2006, p. 197)) – views language as a tool for organizing, processing, and conveying information. It operates with such notions as concept, metaphor, metonymy, embodiment, prototypicality, perspectivization, etc.
In conclusion, this post has defined theoretical L. and discussed briefly its individual branches. It is worth mentioning that both theoretical and applied L. work in harmony to enrich the general line of linguistic research and to solve practical language-related tasks.
Bussmann, H. (Ed.). (1998). Routledge dictionary of language and linguistics; translated and edited by Gregory Trauth and Kerstin Kazzazi. London: Routledge.