Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields: the study of language form, of language meaning, and of language in context.
The first is the study of language structure, or grammar. This focuses on the system of rules followed by the speakers (or hearers) of a language. It encompasses morphology (the formation and composition of words), syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and sentences from these words), and phonology (sound systems). Phonetics is a related branch of linguistics concerned with the actual properties of speech sounds, nonspeech sounds, and how they are produced and perceived.
Although linguistics is the scientific study of language, a number of other intellectual disciplines are relevant to language and intersect with it. Semiotics, for example, is the general study of signs and symbols both within language and without. Literary theorists study the use of language in literature. Linguistics additionally draws on and informs work from such diverse fields as psychology, speech-language pathology, informatics, computer science, philosophy, biology, human anatomy, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, and acoustics.
Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of study that identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related real-life problems. Some of the academic fields related to applied linguistics are education, linguistics, psychology, computer science, anthropology, and sociology.
Major branches of applied linguistics include bilingualism and multilingualism, computer-mediated communication (CMC), conversation analysis, contrastive linguistics, deaf linguistics, language assessment, literacies, discourse analysis, language pedagogy, second language acquisition, lexicography, language planning and policies, stylistics, pragmatics, forensic linguistics, and translation.
Major journals of the field include Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, International Review of Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Issues in Applied Linguistics, and Language Learning.