linguistic anthropology: a subdivision of anthropology that is
concerned primarily with unwritten languages (both prehistoric and modern), with
variation within languages, and with the social uses of language; traditionally
divided into three branches: descriptive linguistics, the systematic study of
the way language is constructed and used; historical linguistics, the study of
the origin of language in general and of the evolution of the languages people
speak today; and sociolinguistics, the study of the relationship between
language and social relations.