Linguistics as a Discipline

Language is considered a crucial human phenomenon. Linguistics, the scientific study of language and its elements, contributes to our knowledge of human society by investigating the nature of human communication. There exists a rich history of studying linguistics in many parts of the world, especially ancient India, Greece and China. The importance of this discipline is now recognized throughout the world. As a branch of modern human science, linguistics deals with language, its components, and language-related domains ranging from natural language processing and artificial intelligence of information and communication technology to neurolinguistic aspects and language pathology. Linguistics makes use of subjects such as philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literary criticism, semiotics, biology, mathematics and statistics. Linguistics thus is an essentially outward-looking discipline combining well with other degree subjects and courses.

Linguistics at Dhaka University

Dhaka University has a long heritage of the study of linguistics since its foundation in 1921. Haraprosad Shastry (1853-1931), the then Head of the Dept. of Bangla (Bengali) and Sanskrit, and Muhammad Shahidullah (1885-1969), lecturer of the Dept. made a pioneering role in this respect. Shahidullah prosecuted historical and comparative study of Bangla language and left a significant contribution. In the later decades  a host of scholars of the Dept. made a stream of linguistic research spontaneous in Dhaka University and of them, Prof. Muhammad Abdul Hai (1919-1969) is first to be mentioned. In the late fifties he studied Bangla Phonology at SOAS from the perspective of British School of Phonetics. In the late sixties Munir Chowdhury (1925-1971), a Harvard graduate, with the collaboration of Charles F. Ferguson studied Bangla phonemes following the devices invented in the Prague School. At the same time, Mofazzal Haider Chaudhuri (1926-1971), contemporary to Munir Choudhury, studied phonology at SOAS, London. Professor Humayun Azad (1947-2004), a prominent writer, critique, and linguist, studied generative syntax at Edinburgh University. Professor Azad, then, applied Chomskyan theory of syntax on Bengali. Other contemporary prominent linguists, popular throughout the country, are Professor Kazi Din Muhammad, Professor Rafiqul Islam, Professor Abul Kalam Monjur Morshed, Professor Mosur Musa, Professor Daniul Haque who were not only educated in Europe and the USA, but also contributed to Bengali applying modern theories and methods of this discipline. Finally, Professor Rajib Humayun, a graduate from Pune University, India was the founder chairman of the Dept. of Linguistics.