Linguistic Sites – Top Ten

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Looking into linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of human language. It is considered a science and can be broken into three categories which are language form, language meaning and language in context. One sub-field is language structure or grammar, which is a simple set of rules and also includes morphology (the formation of words), syntax (the formation of phrases and sentences) and phonology (sound systems). Phonetics may also be considered since it deals with properties of speech sounds and non-speech sounds and how they are formed and produced. Linguistics is influenced by social, cultural, historical and political factors. Other relevant disciplines are semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) and additionally linguistics informs work from such diverse fields as acoustics, anthropology, biology, computer science, human anatomy, informatics, neuroscience, philosophy, sociology, psychology and speech-language pathology. The study of language began in India in the 5th century and the first known form of writing was called Sanskrit. Plato was deemed the first westerner to write about semantics and uses the word etymology for the first time in his describing of a history behind words. For those wishing to know more regarding the world of linguistics please find below a list of the best and most informative sites on the Internet today. Some of the sites are online dictionaries in order to improve diction and others contain history and interesting facts about this incredible science.

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1. – is the online encyclopaedia of writing systems and languages. There are alphabets and types of writing systems with Semanto-phonetic scripts. Tips can be found for learning languages with articles and videos for learning the Celtic languages and Chinese. There is a special section for useful phrases and idioms as well as signs and tongue twisters and there are even songs and the story of the ‘Tower of Babel’.


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2. Online Etymology Dictionary –

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives explanations of what words mean and how they sounded many years ago. There are sources and links and a section for abbreviations and words can be selected and browsed by an A-Z index. The origin of the word is given, which is usually Latin or Greek and plurals and definitions are also shown. The dictionary is open source and any contributions to the content are welcome.

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3. The Speech Accent Archive –

This site presents a large range of speech samples from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native English speakers can read the same paragraph and different English accents can be analysed in the archives. A bibliography of sources can be found and a full explanation of how to use the site is given with links to the language database. You can browse by speaker, atlas or inventory and search for data by biographical, speaking or generalisation.


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4. Princeton University –

Princeton University is proud to present ‘wordnet’ which is a lexicon of English. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets with each expressing a concept. Words and concepts can be navigated with the browser and it is a useful tool for linguists, which is free to download. Details can be found on the structure with sections for statistics, citing, publications and documentation. Links to similar programmes in other languages are given and help is available if needed.

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5. Ethnologue –

Ethnologue explores the languages of the world with 7015 languages available to select. Languages can be selected by region and a section providing explanations for evaluating and development of languages can be found. You can read about endangered languages with links provided for further information and the ‘language of the day’ is featured with previous editions being available to read as well.


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6. Sil International –

SIL is a non-profit organisation that serves languages worldwide. Research, tools, translation and training are provided to build, sustain and develop communities globally with the use of languages. Information about the organisation and their research can be found on the site with articles and videos to view. There are sections for anthropology, arts, culture and sign languages as well as linguistics and field studies can be read regarding the development of literacy and education.


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7. The Linguist List –

The Linguist List is an international linguistic community online with featured links for education, research and technology. There are articles and publications to read on linguistic topics with a student porthole and a noticeboard. A list of current linguistic projects can be found with topics such as Wikipedia, multi-tree and LL Map and a section dedicated to asking questions about languages is shown with answers given by the experts. A site map is provided to find your way around with linguistic tools, style guides and linguistic blogs.


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8. World Wide Words –

World Wide Words investigates the English language throughout the globe with articles, reviews, topical words and turns of phrase to be read. A free weekly newspaper can be found along with back issues and there are dictionaries and pronunciation guides for assistance. The site gives an amusing view of writing mistakes and tongue-in-cheek sayings and a section for ‘slang’ is can be found along with links to other word sites.


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9. Linguistic Data Consortium –

The Linguistic data Consortium supports language-related education, research and technology development by creating and sharing linguistic tools and data. The company is currently involved in many projects whose details can be found on the site and there are papers to read as well as an online catalogue. Sections can be found for creating, obtaining, providing and using the data and a full FAQ and resources are provided for members.


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10. Centre for Applied Linguistics –

This is a small non-profit organisation working to improve communication through better understanding of languages and culture. Information can be gained in topics such as English, foreign language, literacy education, dialects, international development and refugee and immigrant integration with a featured section for research. Online resources include dictionaries, databases, links and publications and joining the list to receive updates on all the projects is welcome.




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