What is linguistics? What is it good for?

MARTA BEGONA CARRETERO LAPEYRE mcarrete at filol.ucm.es
Fri Sep 9 17:39:39 UTC 2011

Apart from the many benefits mentioned in previous contributions, I would say that linguistics helps us linguists in our everyday life, and, what makes me happy, many of my students have told me so (I lecture on pragmatics and functional linguistics). We have to use language every day for lots of different tasks, and our consciousness of how language works can result in a better use of language, with the consequence that we can do these tasks better. 
For instance, consciousness about presupposition and implicature can help us read the press or other texts between the lines so that we have tools for not being so easily manipulable. Linguistic knowledge about politeness can give ideas about how to be friendly with others or how to tackle difficult situations at work, at home or in other places. Knowledge of text linguistics permits us to know how well written a text is and also to make amendments if necessary. These are only a few examples... now that I think of it, I even owe linguistics a little improvement of my skill at telling jokes (from awful to less awful).

----- Mensaje original -----
De: Clai Rice <cxr1086 at louisiana.edu>
Fecha: Viernes, Septiembre 9, 2011 18:08
Asunto: Re: [FUNKNET] What is linguistics? What is it good for?
A: funknet at mailman.rice.edu

> I sometimes use a diagram by Neil Smith, from page 5 of 
> Language, Bananas,
> and Bonobos. His introductory essay is titled "How to be the 
> Centre of the
> Universe," and the diagram shows that the study of language pertains
> directly to nearly every discipline in the academy. The diagram, 
> but not
> the whole essay, can be viewed on Amazon's Look Inside function.
> Clai Rice

Marta Carretero 
Associate Professor 
Departamento de FilologĂ­a Inglesa I 
Facultad de FilologĂ­a 
Universidad Complutense de Madrid 

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