Ms DA   Tuesday, October 05, 2004, 03:49 GMT
hi i was wondering what a professional linguist actually does. Maybe some of you guys could tell me what its like from expirience and the kinds of things you do.
Eugenia   Tuesday, October 05, 2004, 22:10 GMT
Nearly every linguist would agree that linguistics is the scientific study of language. But what is language, and what is science, are controversial matters.
Many linguists think that it is better to study the mental structures that enter into the exercise of capacities to do such-and-such, exploring the properties of these mental structures and separating out the various strands distinguishing grammar from pragmatic competence, distinguishing the computational structure from conceptual systems of a different sort.
There are linguists, such as Quirk et al. , who write particular grammars, which describe particular languages. They are often referred to as descriptive linguists.
Because language is in the brain, we do not have direct access to it. But it can be studied anyway by making hypotheses about its nature. These hypotheses are then evaluated, checked against the data and very often changed.
The linguists who study language from this perspective are called theoretical linguists because they try to build up a theory about what language is.
Theoretical linguists try to make explicit the tacit or unconscious knowledge that every native speaker of a language has. Theoretical linguists working within generative grammar try to explain how sentences are generated or built. One of the requirements for their theory to be good is that it should be universal, ie. that it should apply to every natural language.

This is just a very very short summery of what a linguist studies. If you want more information you can e-mail me to:
Bye Bye