What is linguistics? It is the scientific study of a language in its spoken, written, or signed form. Our Linguistics Study Brief provides a concise, conceptual overview of the subject matter, including a summary of the distinctive characteristics that differentiate human language from animal language. This concise and convenient quick reference guide is the ideal orientation for a student enrolled in an Introductory to Language or a beginning Linguistics course. In an organized, easy-to-follow format, this Study Brief offers a clear, understandable summary of the various fields and branches of linguistics. Quick access to definitions of key terms and simple explanations of key concepts along with useful charts are nice to have at your fingertips when taking class or studying for an exam. Foundational principles you need to know are supported by instructive examples and clarifying visuals. Individual sections in this Study Brief focus on key topics: What is language?; What is linguistics?; What is grammar?; Phonetics (the sounds of language); Morphology (the structure of words); Syntax (the organization of words); Semantics and Pragmatics (the social context of language); and Language and the Brain.