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Linguistics is the "scientific study of "language, and is largely divided into two major fields: "theoretical linguistics and "applied linguistics. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist.
"Theoretical (or general) linguistics encompasses seven major sub-fields: "phonetics (the study of the isolated sounds of speech), "phonology (the study of speech sound systems and their mental representations), "morphology (the study of the grammatical rules for word formation), "syntax (the study of word order), "lexis (the study of words), "semantics (the study of meaning) and "pragmatics (the study of meaning in context) which, together, allow for a description of the way a language works to convey meaning from one speaker to another. "Applied linguistics encompasses diverse fields such as "language education, "second language acquisition, "effect of society on language, or language's relationship to "psychology, and so on.
The "decipherment of rongorongo began with the discovery of the "rongorongo tablets on "Easter Island in the late nineteenth century. As with most undeciphered scripts, many of the proposals have been fanciful. Apart from a portion of one tablet which has been shown to deal with a "lunar calendar, none of the texts are understood, and even the calendar cannot actually be read. There are three serious obstacles to decipherment: the small number of "remaining texts, comprising only 15,000 legible glyphs; the lack of context in which to interpret the texts, such as illustrations or parallels to texts that can be read; and the fact that the modern "Rapanui language is heavily mixed with "Tahitian and is unlikely to closely reflect the language of the tablets—especially if they record a specialized "register such as incantations—while the few remaining examples of the old language are heavily restricted in genre and may not correspond well to the tablets either. Since a proposal by Butinov and Knorozov in the 1950s, the majority of philologists, linguists, and cultural historians have taken the line that rongorongo was not true writing but "proto-writing, that is, an "ideographic- and "rebus-based "mnemonic device. If it is the case that rongorongo is proto-writing, then it is unlikely to ever be deciphered. Oral history suggests that only a small elite were ever literate, and that the tablets were considered sacred. ("more...)
Did you know...
From Wikipedia's ""Did You Know" archives:
The number 605 in Khmer Numerals
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