What are the various fields that belong to Linguistics?

2 Answers 2


Linguistics consists of various fields:

A - Anthropological Linguistics, Applied Linguistics.
C - Cognitive Linguistics, Comparative linguistics, Computational Linguistics.
D - Discourse Analysis.
E - Etymology, Evolutionary Linguistics.
F - Forensic Linguistics, Functional theories of grammar.
G - Generative Linguistics, Graphemics, Graphetics.
H - Historical Linguistics.
I - Internet Linguistics.
L - Language acquisition, Language assessment, Language development, Language education, Lexis, Linguistic anthropology.
M - Morphology, Morphonology.
N - Neurolinguistics.
O - Orthography.
P - Phonetics, Phonology, Pragmatics.
Q - Quantitative linguistics.
S - Semantics, Semiotics, Sociolinguistics, Syntax.
T - Translation studies.

  • 1
    Can I suggest Discourse Analysis, Sign Languages, and Translation studies? Edit: And perhaps Applied Linguistics too.
    – edominic
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 10:59
  • 1
    Of course, even if Sign Language is not "a field"... no? I'm going to add the other ones, thanks.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 11:13
  • Thank you, but why do you think that Sign Languages is not a field in itself? There's a lot of research on natural sign languages and although that is not my field, I think it has made important contributions to linguistics in general. Am I missing something here?
    – edominic
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 11:33
  • @KleinePrins No maybe it's me, but Sign Language is a field in Linguistics? I mean, it's a subject, but like "Spoken languages"... I am not sure if I am explaining myself well lol :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 12:49
  • I get it, and I guess there can be several opinions about this. I just looked for serious and comprehensive lists of linguistic subfields and they are all different. I have no problem accepting your idea that SL is a subject since I found such variety of lists. On a side note, I think this little debate could be labelled as "philosophy of linguistics". I now want to add that to my academic interests!
    – edominic
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 13:10
  • @KleinePrins Yes, there isn't an actual total consensus. Again, it might just be me so if you find it somewhere listed as such, let me know.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 13:23
  • Perhaps Psycholinguistics as well? Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 11:29
  • From Wikipedia, "Translation studies borrows much from the various fields of study that support translation. These include comparative literature, computer science, history, linguistics, philology, philosophy, semiotics, and terminology." So I suppose translation studies is broader than linguistics?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 4:38

An additional area of linguistics is Descriptive Linguistics. This is the practice of discovering the facts of a particular language (generally from a speaker). It is distinct from "anthropological linguistics", which is a sub-area of anthropology that looks at socio-cultural anthropological questions as realized in language, such as kinship systems, collection of terminology for material artifacts, and so on. Anthropological linguistics is the same thing as linguistic anthropology. It is also distinct from the subfields phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, morphology, lexicography and various other areas that you might try to fit language description in. For example, phonology is an area of grammatical theory that relates to sound systems and it attempts to devise a general theory of human language sound systems. Descriptive linguistics contributes to that study, but it has entirely different goals and methods. The product of a descriptive study of a language is (or should be) very different from the product of a theoretical study of the grammars of human languages.

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