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  • When you tell people you're a linguist,

  • sometimes they look at you funny...

  • like, they have no idea what you do.

  • Even worse, you get

  • "You're a linguist? Oh, I hate grammar..."

  • or "How many languages do you speak?"

  • People have some strange ideas about linguistics.

  • So, let's clear up these misconceptions.

  • [♪] [MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LINGUISTICS]

  • Hi, Welcome to Snap Language. I'm Marc Franco,

  • the resident linguist here.

  • Misconception Number 1: "Linguists love formal grammar."

  • Actually, what's interesting in language is *not*

  • the rules set by some panel of grammarians.

  • That's prescriptivism.

  • Instead, most linguists follow the practice of descriptivism.

  • They try to describe and understand the language that people actually use it.

  • It doesn't matter if the grammar a group of speakers uses is considered "incorrect."

  • We know there's a standard language, and we follow

  • grammar rules (for example, when we write or give a lecture).

  • Formal grammar's appropriate in those situations.

  • But, to understand language, we want to understand how people

  • actually use it in all contexts .

  • So, if a linguist corrects your grammar,

  • it's not because he or she is a linguist.

  • Maybe, they're just being kind of obnoxious.

  • Misconception Number 2:

  • "A linguist knows everything about language."

  • OK. All medical doctors study medicine, but they specialize

  • in a particular field, right?

  • If you have stomach problems, you don't go to a cardiologist, do you?

  • The same way, linguists study language

  • but specialize in a particular field.

  • You can specialize in historical linguistics,

  • language acquisition, phonetics, syntax,

  • sociolinguistics... and so on.

  • Also, language is so central to being human that

  • linguistics overlaps with many other disciplines.

  • That's why you might study some linguistics in education,

  • sociology, literature, computer science, and so on.

  • So, if you ask your favorite linguist a question about language,

  • don't make them feel bad if they don't know the answer.

  • (I don't feel bad; I just look it up...)

  • Misconception Number 3:

  • "Linguists are translators or interpreters."

  • No... A few linguists may go on to become translators

  • or interpreters, but these are just two possible career paths.

  • Speaking of careers:

  • Misconception Number 4:

  • "Linguists are academics who work in universities."

  • Yes, we can all imagine the lonesome linguist...

  • sitting in a dark office cluttered with old books...

  • that old-book smell in the air.

  • Nah... Many linguists do research in universities but, remember,

  • there are many fields in linguistics.

  • A linguist can also have a career in industry, for example,

  • working on speech recognition or natural language processing for a company.

  • You could work in education, designing literacy programs

  • or teaching English as a second language.

  • Some linguists work in the field,

  • sometimes even in the middle of a jungle,

  • documenting and analyzing an indigenous language.

  • You may find a linguist (or two) working in the government,

  • working as a voice coach in the film industry, or

  • specializing in speech pathology.

  • Misconception Number 5:

  • "Linguists speak many foreign languages."

  • (I hate this one.)

  • What do you call someone who speaks several languages?

  • A polyglot... not a linguist.

  • In fact, many linguists work in their own native language,

  • so they don't need to know a foreign language at all.

  • Of course, there are many foreign-language buffs among linguists. 

  • (We can't help it! We love languages!)

  • But learning or speaking a foreign language

  • is not a requirement to be a linguist.

  • So, what is linguistics, and what do linguists do?

  • Linguistics is the study of language.

  • Linguists study how language works,

  • how it evolves over time, how it is perceived,

  • how it affects social behavior...

  • essentially, linguists study some aspect of this amazing thing

  • humans do that we call "language."

  • It doesn't even have to be spoken language.

  • There are linguists who study sign language, for example.

  • If it's a language, chances are a linguist will want to study it.

  • And chances are you found this video

  • because you like languages yourself, so

  • if there's something you'd like to add or know

  • about this topic, please leave a comment.

  • And don't forget to like and share this video,

  • and subscribe.

  • And thanks for stopping by and watching this video.

  • Does my office smell like old books?

  • Nah...

  • Bye!

  • [♪] [MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LINGUISTICS]

  • [♫]

When you tell people you're a linguist,

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言語学に関する誤解 (Misconceptions about Linguistics)

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    Sh, Gang (Aaron) に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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