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  • The scientific study of the nature and structure of language. Linguists who study grammar cover morphology (the formation of sounds and words), and syntax (the ordering of words into sentences and phrases). Linguistics also includes the study of phonology (the sound system of language), phonetics (the production, transmission, and reception of speech and nonspeech sounds), pragmatics (how language is used in different environments), and semantics (the study of meaning in language). Historical (diachronic) linguists study the history of languages' relations to each other and to human behavior. Comparative linguistics compares languages with each other.


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