LANGUAGE


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UNITS OF LANGUAGE AND THE BRANCHES OF LINGUISTICS
 

Linguistics is the scientific study of language.

Units of Language and the Branches of Linguistics Concerned with Them

The following basic units of language are distinguished: sound, word, phrase, sentence, text. Phonetics and phonology deal with sounds, lexicology deals with words, and morphology deals with word forms, the relations between these forms and their systems. Both lexicology and syntax are concerned with phrases, syntax is also concerned with sentences, and textual linguistics with the relations between sentences and with texts.

The Lithuanian Lexis

The lexis is the sum of words in a language. Nouns are divided into common nouns and proper nouns. Common nouns denote not only individual things or phenomena but also their classes, e.g. river, man. Proper nouns (or their combinations) refer to individual objects and distinguish them from other similar objects, e.g. Agluona (river), Jonas Petraitis.

Lexicology is the study of the lexis. Lexicology is divided into several subsections:

phraseology (the study of set usually figurative expressions or phrases);
onomastics (see Lithuanian personal names and place names);
lexicography (the theory and practice of compiling dictionaries), etc.

There are two types of dictionaries: linguistic (those that provide information about words) and encyclopedic (those that provide information about subjects). Linguistic dictionaries are rather diverse: monolingual, bilingual, multilingual, regional (of some dialect or subdialect); dictionaries of lexical units that possess some distinctive feature (antonyms, phrases, synonyms), etc.

Lithuanian Personal Names and Place Names

The Onomastics Department at the Institute of the Lithuanian Language is engaged in the study of proper nouns. They fall into two classes: personal names and place names.

Onomastics is the study of proper nouns. It is divided into two main branches: anthroponomastics (study of personal names) and toponomastics (study of place names). There are several types of personal names: given names, surnames, patronymics, nicknames, and aliases (pseudonyms). Given names vary in composition and origin. They are divided into the following three groups according to when they were used: old Lithuanian names, Christian names, and new names. On the basis of their origin, surnames are divided into two groups: Lithuanian surnames and those of foreign origin. Place names are divided into two types: topographical names and habitational names.


Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, The Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Lithuanian Institute of History, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, 2003 - 2006