Linguistics is the study of language; it is a multifaceted subject covering sociolinguistics, language theory, language history, phonetics, semantics, and rhetoric. Oxford Reference provides more than 7,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries on all aspects of linguistics.
These include language families, major languages from all over the world (including major national/regional dialects), and key figures and ideas. Our coverage comprises authoritative, highly accessible information on the very latest terminology and theories and is written by trusted experts for researchers at every level.
Discover Linguistics on Oxford Reference with the below sample content:
Values of phonetic symbols used in the Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language
A biography of Avram Noam Chomsky from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics
In your opinion, which is the most fascinating entry in your encyclopedia and why?
To me, the most interesting entry in the encyclopedia is the entry on “Sign” by David Lidov because it shows that this notion, which is taken for granted in most of the current semiotic literature, is in fact quite problematic. I know that main-stream semiotics is generally taught in a dogmatic manner as applying the principles of fountain-heads such as Saussure, Peirce, Greimas, or Eco. For me, semiotics is an epistemological movement in progress, an open-frontier discipline.
What is the one term or concept that everyone—from students to everyday web users—should be familiar with? Why?
An essential term is “Meme”. It has been trivialized by popularization through the media and it is used un-reflexively as a buzz word. Little is understood about the capacity of some algorithms to take over the human brain and control its motivational and behavioural potential. It is an important part of the open frontier I mention above.
Which historical events or figures featured in your encyclopedia have most influenced your study of your subject?
Although I have never blindly followed any mentor, three of the figures covered in the encyclopedia had an influence on my thinking about semiotics: anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, and linguists A.J. Greimas and Roman Jakobson. I studied under the first two, and I interacted with the third one later in my career as a junior scholar.
How did Shakespeare originally sound?
Test your knowledge of common Shakespearean words with our quiz.
Going sour: sweet words in slang
Jonathon Green, contributor to The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, gives the rundown of the sweet terms and phrases that have been re-imagined and incorporated into slang.
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