Subfields of Linguistics


The subfields of linguistics include ethnolinguistics, applied linguistics, forensic linguistics, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, and discourse analysis.

Ethnolinguistics or Anthropological Linguistics has to do with human communication within socio-cultural context. It also studies the origin and/or the evolution of language.

Applied Linguistics encompasses all applications of linguistic theories and language learning. One thing that distinguishes “applied linguistics” is pedagogical implication.


Forensic Linguistics studies the relationship or the interface between language and law. It is a subfield of linguistics that enables the investigation of crimes through linguistic principles. It could also be described as the use of linguistic methodology to make legal determination.

Neurolinguistics is a subfield concerned with the comprehension, production and abstract knowledge of language (spoken, written or sign form) and human brain mechanism.

Psycholinguistics has to do with the relationship between language and the mind. It investigates the processing and production of utterances as well as language acquisition.

Sociolinguistics also has to do with the study of characteristics of language varieties, the characteristics of the function and the characteristics of the speaker of such variety.

Computational Linguistics centers on the use of computers to process the human language. It is also known as “corpus linguistics”, “computer-mediated discourse”, or “computer-mediated communication”.

Discourse Analysis analyses language beyond sentence or cluster level.

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