Changing language

linguisticsI appreciate the good turn of a phrase, expressions of speech local to a region of the country, knowing the etymological origin of words, and many other things about language and dialogue. And if one lives long enough, one becomes witness to the changes that are ever ongoing. Lexicographers document our changing use of words even as the take on the exact opposite meanings over time – for example, the word “peruse.” Linguists study the domains  of phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics. Grammarians study the structural constraints of  clauses, phrases and words to describe the the ways we use natural language to communication. They helps us recognize the importance of commas – after all there is a difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” Commas save lives. Continue reading