This is a two-fold level questions. Question about linguistics from the view point of linguistics. I am interested whether linguistics is a field of science/research or is it a discipline?

The next two paragraphs show some use of both concepts, both taken from the same book (Newmeyer, 1988):

  1. "By the final quarter of the century, the notion of autonomy had parted ways with the view of language as an "organism," a move which reflected the growing recognition of the distinctive aspetcs of the discipline of linguistics"
  2. "Just as its subject matter has endowed the field of linguistics with an importance far out of proportion to the number of practicing linguists, so too have its debates engendered an interest from the outside well beyond what one might expect."

Also, it seems that in this StackExchange it is field of linguistics that is used more often: " In what ways do the fields of linguistics and sociology overlap? "

Newmeyer, F. J. (1988). The politics of linguistics. University of Chicago Press.

  • What do you think is the difference between field and discipline? Unfortunately I can't really see a difference between them by reading the quotations.
    – robert
    Aug 22, 2013 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


It's... both.

The expressions Discipline and Field (of study) are synonyms. I doubt that Linguists will argue on that point. It's really just a matter of choosing one expression over the other rather than having actual differences in meaning.

  • Yes, that's correct. Though linguists are always arguing whether this or that type of academic research is really a linguistic "(sub)field" of "(sub)discipline". And what terms to use to describe, define, or delimit them.
    – jlawler
    Aug 21, 2013 at 20:17

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