Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and its focus is the systematic investigation of the properties of particular languages as well as the characteristics of language in general. It encompasses not only the study of sound, grammar and meaning, but also the history of language families, how languages are acquired by children and adults, and how language use is processed in the mind and how it is connected to race and gender. With close connections to the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences, linguistics complements a diverse range of other disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, computer science, health sciences, education and literature. The subfield of Applied Linguistics emphasizes the use of linguistic concepts in the classroom to help students improve their ability to communicate in their native language or a second language.
Important subfields of linguistics include: