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Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and is largely divided into two major fields: theoretical linguistics and applied linguistics. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist.
Theoretical (or general) linguistics encompasses seven major sub-fields: phonetics (the study of the isolated sounds of speech), phonology (the study of speech sound systems and their mental representations), morphology (the study of the grammatical rules for word formation), syntax (the study of word order), lexis (the study of words), semantics (the study of meaning) and pragmatics (the study of meaning in context) which, together, allow for a description of the way a language works to convey meaning from one speaker to another. Applied linguistics encompasses diverse fields such as language education, second language acquisition, effect of society on language, or language's relationship to psychology, and so on.
Rongorongo is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appears to be writing or proto-writing. It has not been deciphered despite numerous attempts. Although some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, not even these glyphs can be read. If rongorongo does prove to be writing, it would be one of only three or four known independent inventions of writing in human history. Two dozen wooden objects bearing rongorongo inscriptions, some heavily weathered, burned, or otherwise damaged, were collected in the late 19th century and are now scattered in museums and private collections. The objects are mostly tablets made from irregular pieces of wood, sometimes driftwood, but include a chieftain's staff, a bird-man statuette, and two reimiro ornaments. Oral history suggests that only a small elite was ever literate and that the tablets were sacred. Authentic rongorongo texts are written in alternating directions, a system called reverse boustrophedon. In the case of the tablets these lines are often inscribed in shallow fluting carved into the wood. The glyphs have a characteristic outline appearance and include human, animal, plant, artifact and geometric forms. (more...)
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The number 605 in Khmer Numerals