Language is at the center of almost every human activity. Yet producing and understanding even the simplest of sentences is one of the most complicated tasks that humans perform. Linguistics, the general study of language, attempts to answer the following questions: How do we produce and understand sentences? How is language acquired by children? What are the ways in which the languages of the world are alike and different? How do languages change over time? How does our ability to speak language compare to our other cognitive abilities? How is language used in different social and cultural contexts?