Linguistics and Small Businesses

Tips for Businesses

Linguistics probably isn’t something you actively think about at work, but it’s an integral part of almost every aspect, especially when interacting with others. Linguistics in business encompasses how you utilize language and communication within your business. This includes emails, contracts, documents, advertisements, and face-to-face communication.

Understanding the linguistics involved in your interactions with others can be key to making a project successful.

What is Linguistics?

We know what it covers, but what is it exactly? By definition, linguistics is “the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language”.

This essentially breaks down language and teaches how to better use and understand it. Some important aspects are grammar, syntax, stressed and unstressed syllables, translations, dialect, and slang.

Let's take a moment to break these down and look at how you can take advantage of these aspects of language for your business. Grammar Grammar is the entire structure and systematic use of language. It’s the individual words, such as subjects, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, as examples.

Learning to pick out these aspects of grammar in sentences will help you better understand your writing. Here are some words and parts of grammar:

• Dog- subject

• Yard- Object

• Ran- Verb


Syntax brings order to the grammar you learn. It’s essentially the formula used to put language together. It takes understanding what you write up a step because it gives you the correct way to write it all down. A simple formula that syntax tells us to follow is subject+verb+object. Let's use the words we used to show aspects of grammar to see how syntax tells us to put them together.

The dog ran in the yard. Following the subject, verb, and object formula, this is how a sentence can be written with the grammar examples.

Stressed and Unstressed Syllables

Stressed and unstressed syllables mainly come into play when using spoken language. This aspect influences how words sound, and you can use this in your business to make your language catch the attention of your clients and customers more effectively.

Figuring out what syllables are stressed and unstressed is key to making sure what you say is easy to understand. Put too much or not enough stress on the wrong syllables, and you risk making your words difficult to understand. Let's look at some of the more common sounds found in language as examples.


Consonants are sounds made by letters that involve the closing of the vocal tract. There are many letters in the English language that produce consonant sounds, 21 to be exact. The letters that are always consonants are b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, s, t, u, v, x, and z.

The letters that are sometimes consonants are h, r, w, and y, but these letters can also be vowels. In many cases, consonants work together to make the correct sound. Let's look at some examples to see how consonants are used in language. Focus on how your mouth moves to say these words to see how the vocal tract.

• She The “sh” in this word is the consonant (SH-e).

• Glad The “gl” in this word is the consonant (GL-ad).

• Drag The “dr” in this word is the consonant (DR-ag).


Vowels are open vocal tract sounds. Unlike consonants, there isn’t much of anything blocking the airway when saying a vowel sound. The letters in the English language that are always vowels are a, e, i, o, and u.

The letter y is sometimes a vowel, but it is primarily a consonant. Below are a few examples of words and the vowel sounds in them. Focus on how you vocalize these words to pick out the vowel sound.

● Bike The “i” in this word is the vowel (b-I-ke).

● Phone The “o” in this word makes the vowel sound (ph-O-ne).

● Steak The “ea” in this word makes the vowel sound (st-EA-k).

Schwa Sound

The schwa sound is a specific vowel sound that sounds like a soft and short u (uh) or i. An example of a word that shows this sound is the word “problem.” In this word, the e has an “uh” sound instead of a sharp “e” sound. If you have ever wondered, that doesn't sound like it appears - there is probably a schwa in there. Ha!

Vowel Team

Syllables Vowel teams are two vowels that create the sound of one letter. A word that has an example of this is the word “show.” In this word, the “-ow” works together to create an “o” sound due to the “w” being a silent vowel.

Open Syllables

An open syllable is a word that ends with a vowel sound spelled with a single vowel letter. A word that has an example of this is the word “piano.” The syllable “-no” ends in a vowel, therefore, it sounds like just an “o”.

Closed Syllables

A closed syllable has a short vowel ending in a consonant.
For more information on the types of syllable sounds, check out this article by Wear Teachers.


Dialect varies depending on the location and can significantly affect how words are pronounced and understood, and it’s what gives language its deep and complex nature.
Dialect is made up of an area or population’s specific history and culture, and learning how to understand the dialect of your target audience can be an important part of marketing for your business. The dialects of someone from New York and someone from Texas will be very different they even have different terms for the same objects.

If you want to seem relatable to either person, you’ll need to know what dialect goes with which person and be able to differentiate them when communicating. Not only will it make communicating with your audience better, but it also makes you seem more trustworthy to them and personal.

Taking the time to understand dialect shows you care about those who use it and that you take the time to understand them better.

Dialect can also branch out further into including more than one language when speaking. This is called code-switching. This can happen when people are bilingual and switch between languages or when cultures adopt words into their language or a specific dialect that is part of another language.


Slang is another aspect of linguistics that can be localized and isn’t going to be the same across the board. Slang is considered informal language and is avoided in formal situations. Not only can learning the slang of your particular target audience help make you more personable to them, but actively learning slang as it evolves can help you reach new clientele as well.

You can hop on slang trends that go on online and use them to boost your business.

Check out these articles below for more information on how linguistics can benefit your business.

The Importance of Linguistic Services in Business

Global Business Speaks English

We hope you learned how important linguistics is for your business and got an insight into how you can use different aspects of the study of language to your advantage for promoting your business or interacting with others.

Comprehensive Consulting Solutions for Small Businesses is a consulting company who focuses on everything small business.