Linguistics is a diverse discipline and, indeed, linguists have long debated which subdisciplines should properly be included under the heading. It is still argued by some that linguistics proper should be restricted to the subdisciplines of phonology (which studies sound structure), morphology (word structure), syntax (sentence structure) and semantics (meaning), but it is generally accepted that phonetics (the acoustic, articulatory and auditory properties of speech sounds) and variationist sociolinguistics (structured variation in language) are essential components of any higher education course in linguistics. To these may be added discourse analysis (text structure), pragmatics (meaning in context), conversation analysis, applied linguistics (itself a diverse field) and the many areas of interest that can be loosely grouped under the heading ‘sociolinguistics’: language planning, societal bilingualism and multilingualism, language attitudes, standardization, and so on. All these areas (and the list above is far from exhaustive) can be shown to be relevant to the study of Modern Languages, but we shall focus here on applications of some core areas to language teaching before considering the place of linguistics courses in Modern Languages programmes.