Digging into Language
Have you ever wondered why a word means what it means? If so, you might consider a career as a
linguist. Linguists study the nature and structure of human speech.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Doesn't sound like a science? Well it is! Linguists
gather data and test out ideas to make conclusions about language. So, like other scientists,
they use the scientific method to answer questions.
For example, scholars discovered a mystery language written in caves and books found in western
China. When linguists decoded this ancient language, called Tocharian, they found that it was
unlike any of the languages spoken by the neighboring people who live there today or who used
to live there long ago. This provides linguistic evidence that the Tocharian-speaking people
probably came from far away to settle in what is now China.
Maybe linguistics is for you: Check out the pasta-bilities!
Thanks to the educators from the EDCO Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Newtonville,
Massachusetts, for their help in developing this feature. References.