Phenomenology and Linguistic Analysis

Phenomenology studies the way we experience.  These experiences range from perceptions, memories, emotions, and social activities.  Linguistic activity also falls into these experiences.  Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy:

  • Ontology is the study of beings or their being — what is.
    • Epistemology is the study of knowledge — how we know.
    • Logic is the study of valid reasoning — how to reason.
    • Ethics is the study of right and wrong — how we should act.
    • Phenomenology is the study of our experience — how we experience. (Stanford Encyclopedia, 2008).

Linguistic analysis is the use of words or phrases to clarify, to find common understanding.  It has been used to find historical relationships between languages. Languages vary, and linguistic analysis can be used to determine common misunderstandings in order to refine similar meaning and facts about language structure.  Linguists examine a large number of languages of widely different patterns, their base of reference is expanded. They experienced an interruption of phenomena thought to be universal, and a whole new order of significances came into their understanding (Whorf, 1956) retrieved from Stanford Encyclopedia.

“The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there (in nature) because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way—an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language.”

Phenomenology. (2008).  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

Linguistics. (2008). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from:

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