Why is linguistics considered a science?

By: | Post date: 2016-08-24 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Linguistics

Supplemental to the list given by David Rosson (ah, your American bias is showing, David 🙂

cc C (Selva) R.Selvakumar

  • As Dmitriy Genzel points out, Historical Linguistics is an observational science, like Astronomy. A lot of hypothesis testing though.
  • To add to Tibor Kiss’ list of German words, Linguistic Typology is a Versammelnde Wissenschaft: a science based on data collection. Like biological taxonomy.
  • Semantics, depending on the flavour of Semantics being done, is an observational science (lexicography), or logic, or philosophy.
  • Pragmatics is something in between cultural anthropology and philosophy (but a very cool, nuts-and-bolts philosophy).
  • Discourse Analysis is observational science, but with dirtier data.

Oh, and phoneticians’ papers look just like psychology papers. Four pages long, with graphs. Historical linguists’ papers are old-school chatty. Syntax papers have at least some pretence of rigour. The style of the papers lines up to the kinds of science (or Geistwissenschaft) their subdisciplines aspire to be.

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