What questions do linguists ask?
- What is language?
- Where does language come from?
- How is it possible to convey messages by making sounds or signs?
- How is it possible to mean more than you are actually saying?
- Are only humans capable of learning language?
- Where in the brain is language stored?
- Why is it easier to learn a language as a child than as an adult?
- Why do languages have dialects? Are some dialects better than others?
- Why do languages change?
- How is language deliberately used to deceive, degrade, oppress or disempower people?
... and many more!
Why is insight into human language important?
We need insight into what language is, and how it functions to address a vast number of practical problems.
Here are some examples:
- How should languages be taught in schools?
- Should education be through one's mother tongue, through a second language, or through two languages simultaneously?
- Can growing up with more than one language result in delayed language development?
- How can threatend languages be saved?
- Should users of signed languages have linguistic rights?
- Should all languages in a multilingual country enjoy equal status?
- How can people be empowered through language?