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1by Monica Macaulay and Kristen SyrettWhat is linguistics?If you are consideringbecomingalinguisticsmajor, you probably know something about thefieldoflinguisticsalready. However, you may findit hard to answer people who ask you, "Whatexactly islinguistics, and what doesalinguistdo?"They might assume that it means youspeak a lot oflanguages. Andthey may be right:you may, infact, be a polyglot! But while many linguists dospeak multiple languages—or at leastknowafairbitabout multiple languages—the study oflinguisticsmeans much more than this.Linguistics isthe scientific study of language, andmany topics are studied under this umbrella. At theheart oflinguisticsisthesearch for theunconscious knowledge that humans have aboutlanguageand howit is thatchildren acquireit, anunderstanding of the structure of languageingeneralandofparticular languages,knowledgeabout how languagesvary, and how languageinfluences the way in which we interact with eachother and think about the world.What exactly do...