Linguistics is the general study of linguistic communication and of language structure. Languages are explored both as mental and social phenomena. Important questions are how people acquire language and how languages develop from a longer historical perspective. Linguistics is mainly concerned with commonalities across human languages and with general questions on how languages are to be analysed and described. It thus complements specific language studies that are concerned with individual (groups of related) languages.
The form side of language is analysed in phonetics (sound production and sound perception), phonology (how sound differences are used in languages) and grammar, which is divided into morphology (inflexion and word formation) and syntax (construction of phrases and clauses). The meaning content and use of linguistic expressions are treated in semantics and pragmatics. Discourse research addresses the dynamics of conversation and the structure of texts. The linguistics subject also studies methods of linguistics, language psychology and language sociology.
The subject of linguistics is interdisciplinary. It is relevant in relation to, for example, specific languages, pedagogy, literature, psychology, sociology, philosophy and history. The linguistics subject is combined with computer science and information technology in the field of language technology and computational linguistics.