‘The study of language’ argues that studying language ‘scientifically’ is, in part, to refuse to accept uncritically the ways of thinking that, without any professional training, we all bring to it. We must strive to be as objective as possible, both about individual languages and the nature of language in general. Linguistics straddles the institutional rift between arts and sciences. It clearly has its ‘arts’ side, and links with other subjects in the humanities. It also has links with the ‘social’ sciences, especially sociology and anthropology. Yet it has its ‘science’ side too, particularly in the study of the sound of speech and how it is produced and perceived.