What are the Branches of Linguistics?

The Branches of linguistics Are phonology, morphology, syntax, phonetics, semantics, pragmatics, lexicography and lexicology.

Linguistics is understood as the scientific study of language and among other occupations is responsible for:

Sign language forms part of the branches of linguistics

  • Describe structures governed by rules of languages
  • Determine to what extent these structures are universal or language-specific
  • Raise restrictions on possible language structures
  • Explain why there is only a limited amount of human languages.

Linguistics is a valuable component of liberal education and is also useful as pre-professional training for people interested in teaching languages ​​in areas of rehabilitation medicine such as audiology or speech therapy, special education, computer science and artificial intelligence And other areas.

In addition, linguistics has particular utility in work with indigenous or immigrant groups, or in academic disciplines such as psychology , the philosophy , the literature And language studies.

The importance of linguistics lies in its usefulness, since it helps both written and oral communication.

Linguistics is today an important part of world culture, because it helps to create and maintain forms of dialogue between individuals of the same or of different geographical location.

Main branches of linguistics

Linguistics has a diversity of branches that encompasses specific studies of language. Some branches study communication or written language and others oral. Below are the main branches of linguistics.


Phonology is the branch that deals with the systematic organization of sounds in languages. Phonology is responsible for the abstract and grammatical characterization of sound systems or signs.

Traditionally, it has focused on the study of phoneme systems in particular languages, but it can also encompass any linguistic analysis, either below the word (syllable or others) or at all levels of language where sound is considered structured To convey linguistic meaning.


Morphology is the study of words, how they are formed and their relationship with other words in the same language. Also, morphology analyzes the structure of words and parts of words, such as stems, roots, prefixes and suffixes.

Morphology also examines parts of speech, intonation, and stress, and ways in which context can change the pronunciation and meaning of a word.


Syntax is the set of rules, principles and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language, specifically the order of words and punctuation.

The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes. The aim of this branch of linguistics is to discover the syntactic rules common to all languages.


Phonetics is the branch of linguistics that encompasses the dissertation about the resonances and phonic perceptions of the human language or, in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of signs.

It refers to the physical properties of speech sounds or signals: its physiological production, its acoustic properties, its auditory perception and its neurophysiological state.


Semantics is the linguistic and philosophical study of meaning, in language, programming languages, formal logic and semiotics.

It deals with the relationship between signifiers such as words, phrases, signs and symbols. Study what they represent, their denotation.

In international scientific vocabulary, semantics is also called semasiology. The word semantics was first used by Michel Bréal, a French philologist. It denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical.

In linguistics, it is the study of the interpretation of signs or symbols used in agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts.

Within this view, sounds, facial expressions, body language, and prosemics have semantic (meaningful) content, and each comprises several branches of study.

For example, in written language, things like paragraph structure and punctuation have semantic content.


It is the branch of linguistics that rehearses the ways in which context brings meaning in communication.

Pragmatics includes speech theory, conversation during interaction, and other perspectives on language behavior in various humanitarian sciences.

Pragmatics is the study of how context affects meaning, such as how sentences are interpreted in certain situations (or the interpretation of linguistic meaning in context).

The linguistic context is the discourse that precedes a sentence to be interpreted and the situational context is the knowledge about the world.

In the following phrase:"the children have already eaten and surprisingly, they are hungry", the linguistic context helps to interpret the second sentence depending on what the first sentence says.

The situational context helps to interpret the second sentence because it is common knowledge that humans are not usually hungry after eating.


Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups:

  • Practical Lexicography Is the art or trade of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries.
  • Theoretical Lexicography Is the academic discipline that analyzes and describes the semantic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language.


Lexicology is the part of linguistics that studies words. This may include its nature and function as symbols, their meaning, the relation of their meaning to epistemology in general, and the rules of their composition beginning with smaller elements.

Lexicology also implies relationships between words, which may involve semantics (eg, love vs. affection), derivation (for example, plausible vs. unfathomable), sociolinguistic use and distinctions (eg flesh vs. flesh) and any other issues involved In the analysis of the whole lexicon of a language.

The term first appeared in the 1970s, although there were essentially lexicologists before the term was coined.

Computational lexicology is a related field that deals with the computational study of dictionaries and their contents.


  1. Anderson, John M.; And Ewen, Colin J. (1987). Principles of dependency phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Bloomfield, Leonard. (1933). Language. New York: H. Holt and Company. (Revised version of Bloomfield's 1914 An introduction to the study of language).
  3. Bauer, Laurie. (2003). Introducing linguistic morphology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-343-4.
  4. Bubenik, Vit. (1999). An introduction to the study of morphology. LINCON coursebooks in linguistics, 07. Muenchen: LINCOM Europe. ISBN 3-89586-570-2.
  5. Isac, Daniela; Charles Reiss (2013). I-language: An Introduction to Linguistics as Cognitive Science, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199660179.
  6. 'Grady, William; Et al. (2005). Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction (5th ed.). Bedford / St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-41936-8.
  7. Cruse, Alan; Meaning and Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics, Chapter 1, Oxford Textbooks in Linguistics, 2004; Kearns, Kate; Semantics, Palgrave MacMillan 2000; Cruse, D.A.; Lexical Semantics, Cambridge, MA, 1986.
  8. Ariel, Mira (2010). Defining Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-73203-1.
  9. Crystal, David (1990). Linguistics. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140135312.
  10. De Saussure, F. (1986). Course in general linguistics (3rd ed.). (R. Harris, Trans.). Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company. (Original work published 1972). P. 9-10, 15.

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