Basic research methods in linguistics

Modern methods of linguistic research are very diverse. We will talk about the most popular and highly specialized methodologies in the article. Professional writers use this methodology when creating academic papers. As a student, I preferred to pay someone to write my research paper, so I could spend more time working.

Research methods in Linguistics 

What are the methods of scientific research in linguistics? This is a general name for theoretical principles, techniques, and tools related to a particular linguistic theory that are used in the study of linguistic phenomena. Various methods are used in linguistics research projects. Among them, there are universal, general, as well as scientific ones, which are used in term papers and theses of all disciplines. In addition to widely used methodologies, there are also highly specialized methods in linguistics. The choice of a certain methodological base always depends on the goals and objectives that the student defines in the introduction to the course or diploma. 

General methods of linguistic research 

General research methods are experimental or practical methodologies that form the basis of scientific knowledge and are used in all disciplines. For a thorough study, it is necessary to work out the theory well. For the study of language and its aspects in linguistics, the following methods are most often used: observation; comparison; modeling. 

Observation is one of the most popular ways to explore linguistic topics. With its help, they find the necessary linguistic facts, isolate them and establish specific features. 

General scientific research methods in linguistics, General scientific methods are those that can also be applied in all disciplines, but consider the issues being studied from a theoretical point of view.

Among them: analysis; synthesis; deduction; induction; analogy; abstraction; hypotheses promotion and verification. These are not all scientific methods that belong to the general scientific. They can be used in linguistic research both individually and combined. The main selection criterion is the most effective achievement of the set goals. 

In linguistic research, the hypothetical-inductive method is most often used. With its help, you can collect language material and check it for compliance with a certain hypothesis. 

Particular methods of linguistic research and their characteristics We have considered general scientific methods that are most often used in linguistic research. Now it’s time to figure out what highly specialized methodologies exist for the study of language and language structures. 

Method of stratification. Stratification (from Lat. “stratum” – “layer”) is a method that studies language differences between representatives of different strata of society. It is used to explore phraseological phrases, dialect expressions, communication features of certain social groups, and other social aspects of the language. It is most often used in sociolinguistics. Prominent linguists developed the method of stratification. 

Descriptive method. Descriptive techniques are used to study individual units and concepts of the language system. For example, they describe the characteristics of phonemes, morphemes, and grammatical structures. This method has a significant disadvantage in that does not allow you to use it yourself — it does not give a complete picture. Therefore, descriptive techniques are combined with structural ones. 

Structural method. One of the most important research methods in linguistics in coursework and other works is considered structural. It appeared at the beginning of the last century and allowed scientists to study not individual linguistic units, but the structural relationships between them. The structural method has three subspecies: The method of distributive analysis – studies the relationship of linguistic units that are located near each other in a sentence. 

The method of transformational analysis – explores how linguistic elements can be transformed and redistributed. 

The method of direct components – considers individual words and phrases as nested hierarchies. 

Typological method. The typological method of research in linguistics identifies various types of language systems and studies the relationships between them. The main task of this methodology is to classify the linguistic objects under study according to certain characteristics. To date, there are several hundred typologies that consider linguistic phenomena from the point of view of various general characteristics. As an example, we can give the classification of languages according to their belonging to language families and groups: The Indo-European family of languages consists of the following language groups: Germanic; Romance; Slavic; Greek; Indo-Aryan; Armenian; Baltic, and others. 

The method of linguistic oppositions is used to study the morphemic and phonetic composition of words. It helps to see how forms change depending on different indicators: case; person; gender; time. And to sort language units into elementary meanings. 

The method of component analysis. The component analysis is used in research works, the main purpose of which is to study the content component of language structures. With its help, minimal semantic elements, signs, and meanings are found. The component analysis is very important in projects that develop automatic translation systems. It is this method that helps to increase the efficiency of translated machine text. 

Introspective method. In the introspective method, the main criterion is the intuition of the researcher himself. He does not take universally recognized descriptive systems and facts, but creates them himself, relying on himself as a native speaker. This does not mean that you can come up with an incredible theory out of your head and describe it without proof. The researcher needs to argue his choice, find understandable and logical criteria. 

The method of reconstruction. Historical linguistics actively uses the method of reconstruction. It is ideal for research projects that study ancient languages and ways to restore them. How does it work?

Linguists study how phonetic, semantic, and other linguistic phenomena have changed over time, identify patterns and rely on them, recreating the lost language. 

Formalization methods. The formalization method helps to identify language paradigms, organize various elements and create a logical hierarchy. It is used in works devoted to various relationships within the language. 

The method of logical comparison is the main method of philological argumentation. It is used in linguistic term papers, theses, and other scientific papers to substantiate theoretical conclusions. It helps to compare the points of view of different researchers, find weaknesses and strengths and prove the main hypotheses. 

We have analyzed the main methods of linguistic research that will help you form the methodological basis of your work.

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