Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsJOE BENNETT: Language is fundamental to almost all areas of human life. From simple everyday interactions, to complex political and cultural institutions. So many of the things that we do as a matter of course are unthinkable without it. The same is true for thinking about language. That too is a fundamental part of our lives. In very everyday terms, we might wonder where someone is from on the basis of their accent. We might wonder how to word an email or text message. We might be shocked by something someone said that we consider rude, inappropriate, or taboo. We might marvel at the language development of our children, or wonder what we can do to help them along with their language.
Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsWe might wonder how to translate a word or expression from one language into another. This course is about questions of this kind. Questions about language. What it's like, how it works, what people do with it. Specifically, we consider some of the questions asked by people who have spent a lot of their time thinking about language-- linguistic researchers or linguists. We look at some of the questions that linguists have asked. The methods they've used to find their answers, and the things that they have found out. As well as some of the things that they still would like to find out. We'll explore questions to do with how languages vary from place to place.
Skip to 1 minute and 22 secondsHow human languages relate to the communication systems of other animals. How sign languages relate to spoken languages. And how linguistic changes reflect, and perhaps even encourage social changes. Along the way, you'll find out about some of the key methods that we use to find out about language. From close analysis of text and spoken language, to the use of linguistic big data. From experiments that trap peoples' eye movements as they read, to observations of the behaviour of great apes. In all, we'll discover how linguistic researchers attempt to turn our everyday interest in language into linguistic knowledge.