What is linguistics? What is it good for?

john at research.haifa.ac.il john at research.haifa.ac.il
Thu Sep 8 18:08:43 UTC 2011

Next month I'm going to be making a trip to South Sudan (independent in July) to
give a series of lectures on language policy, orthography development, and
language standardization. Africa is an absolute mess in terms of literacy
because of ill-advised language policies and inadequate language development.
It seems to me that this is something that linguistics is definitely good for.

Quoting "s.t. bischoff" <bischoff.st at gmail.com>:

>   Hi all,
> I've been asked by my Dean to give a talk which he has titled "What is
> linguistics? What is it good for?". This talk will be given to a general
> audience of faculty, students, and administrators.  I have several ideas how
> to approach this, but I wanted to ask folks how they might go about
> answering the two questions in the title in such a situation.
> Thanks,
> Shannon

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