Favourite Theoretical Field?

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Favourite Theoretical Field?

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jun 25, 2009, 8:40am

What's your favourite field of theoretical linguistics?
Most of the people in my classes are leaning towards syntax and semantics, so I feel very alienated when I declare I like phonology the best.

jun 25, 2009, 10:51am

I find myself drawn to lexical semantics - particularly from the diachronic angle -- and the interface with pragmatics. There's Grammaticalisation as well, but that's part of a broader interest in language change and Historical Linguistics. I'm not too wild about Syntax.

jun 25, 2009, 10:14pm

I think my favorite is either morphology or syntax.

jun 25, 2009, 11:21pm

>1 corneggs:: I am also very fascinated by phonology, perhaps because of the way it joins the measurable, e.g., sound waves and x-rays of articulation, with the less measurable mental constructs of "phonemes" that are language-specific. As an ESL teacher in the past of students from all over the world, I particularly enjoyed helping them with pronunciation, and was always searching for the best way to "make the light bulb go on" that a person was fully capable of making a particular English sound, if only they could understand that sound was in their language, although an allophone of some other phoneme. For example, to help a Spanish speaker realize the flap in "pero" was the same as that in English intervocalic "t" as in "butter."

>2 Petroglyph:: Although I didn't take classes in historical linguistics, my readings on the subject fascinate me. I think phonology also figures highly in detecting historical language change, a la Grimm's law and--of course!--the great vowel shift.

jun 26, 2009, 1:07am

Gee whiz! When I was a linguistics student in the early '80's phonology was one of the high roads. I was interested in semantics, but it was felt that that wasn't really an important part of linguistics -- philosophy or psychology maybe. I did not fit in; I did not get my masters degree.


jun 27, 2009, 4:46pm

An English major, here, with a masters in Medieval Studies. I've never formally studied Linguistics, but love Etimology and observing relationships among words in various languages.

Without Grammar and Samantics, though, no communication would be possible. You need a universally recognized structure for concepts to be meaningful, to be communicable. Beyond that purely practical consideration, the structure of a language, considered in an of itself, is an elegant thing, pretty wondrous, in fact.

jun 28, 2009, 12:02pm

OK, I'm a Germanic philologist, so you might guess that how language changes over time is what has fascinated me most. For me, phonology is just a tool to reach the past 8-) Outside of that, however, I've always found morphology and syntax particularly interesting. Looking at cognates and apparent cognates between Germanic languages and seeing where borrowings, particularly the same ones, turn up in different Germanic languages is also quite fascinating.

jun 28, 2009, 1:34pm

I like Phonetics and Sociolinguistics, though I am only just finishing my second year of Linguistics so I don't have that much specialization yet. I'm mostly choosing classes related to those subjects though.

Redigeret: jun 28, 2009, 1:37pm

>1 corneggs:: Exact opposite here. Seems everyone wants to study phonology (particularly people with very specialized language interests/backgrounds), leaving me alone in being interested in more abstract/mathematical approaches to syntax and semantics.

>7 erilarlo:: I take the exact opposite approach: diachronic studies are there to provide interesting data and test cases for theory. :)

I get the feeling that the interests of the generation currently pursuing degrees lie far more in the applied/descriptive fields of linguistics than the strictly theoretical/formal. I know this can't be true everywhere, and even if it were, some in the profession have been lamenting the decline of the formal in formal linguistics for decades now and it still hasn't disappeared. Any one else have opinions or observations on that?

jun 29, 2009, 9:48pm

Phonetics and language change, particularly when tones are involved.