Historically, the term business referred to activities or interests. By extension the word became (as recently as the 18th century) synonymous with "an individual commercial enterprise". It has also taken on the more general meaning of "a nexus of commercial activities".
Businesses are established to perform economic activities. With rare exceptions (such as co-operatives, corporate bodies, non-profit societies and institutions of government), they are for-profit ventures. That is, one of the main objectives of the owners and operators of the business is to receive a financial return for their time and effort.
There are many ways to classify types of businesses. Service businesses offer intangible products and typically have different, usually smaller, capital requirements than manufacturers. Distributors will have different inventory control needs than a retailer or manufacturer.
Communication is the process of exchanging information, usually via common system of symbols. It takes a wide variety of forms, from two people having a face-to-face conversation, to hand signals, to messages sent over global telecommunication networks. The process of communication is what allows us to interact with other people; without it, we would be unable to share knowledge or experiences with anything outside of ourselves. Common forms of communication include speaking, writing, gestures, and broadcasting.
Education encompasses the teaching of specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, good judgement and wisdom. One of the fundamental goals of education is to impart culture across the generations socialization.
Medicine is an area of human knowledge concerned with restoring health. It is, in the broadest sense of the term, the science and practice of the prevention and curing of human diseases, and other ailments of the human body or mind. However, it is often used only to refer to those matters dealt with by academically trained physicians and surgeons. There are many traditional and modern methods and schools of healing which are usually not considered to be part of medicine in a strict sense (see health science for an overview).
Medicine has two aspects: both as an area of knowledge (a science), and as an application of that knowledge (the medical professions). Evidence-based medicine is an attempt to link these two aspects through the use of the scientific method and techniques derived from safety engineering.
Software engineering is the technologies and practices used to create and maintain computer software, while emphasizing productivity and quality. These technologies and practices encompass languages, databases, tools, platforms, libraries, standards, patterns, and processes.
Software engineering applications include email, embedded software, graphical user interfaces, office suites, operating systems, optimizing compilers, relational databases, robotics controllers, video games, and the world wide web. Other important applications include accounting, airline reservations, avionics, banking, and telephony. These applications embody social and economic value, in that they make people more productive, improve their quality of life, and enable them to do things that would otherwise be impossible.
Technology is the development and application of tools, machines, materials and processes that help to solve human problems. As a human activity, technology predates both science and engineering.
The term technology often characterises inventions and gadgets using recently-discovered scientific principles and processes. However, even very old inventions such as the wheel exemplify technology.
Transport, or transportation (as it is called in the United States), is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. The term is derived from the Latin trans, meaning across, and portare, meaning to carry.
The field of transport has several aspects: loosely they can be divided into a triad of infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. Infrastructure includes the transport networks (roads, railways, airways, canals, pipelines, etc.) that are used, as well as the nodes or terminals (such as airports, railway stationss, bus stations and seaports). The vehicles generally ride on the networks, such as automobiles, trains, airplanes. The operations deal with the control of the system, such as traffic signals and ramp meters, railroad switches, air traffic control, etc, as well as policies, such as how to finance the system (e.g. use of tolls or gasoline taxes in the case of highway transport).
As you can see the second category of the sciences covers technical areas whereas in the next category you will be introduced to sciences that primarily deal with human beings, our behaviour, our thoughts and our relationship to the world at large.
Anthropology is the study of humankind (see genus Homo). It is holistic in two senses: it is concerned with all humans at all times, and with all dimensions of humanity. Central to anthropology is the concept of culture, and the notion that human nature is culture; that our species has evolved a universal capacity to conceive of the world symbolically, to teach and learn such symbols socially, and to transform the world (and ourselves) based on such symbols.
In the United States, anthropology is traditionally divided into four fields: physical anthropology, which studies primate behavioUr, human evolution, and population genetics; linguistics, which studies variation in language across time and space, the social uses of language, and the relationship between language and culture; archaeology, which studies the material remains of human societies; and cultural anthropology, (also called social anthropology or sociocultural anthropology), which studies social behavior and beliefs (among phenomena studied by cultural anthropologists are kinship patterns, social networks, politics, patterns in production, exchange, and consumption, and religion). Around the 1990s, some U.S. Anthropology programs began dividing into two, one emphasizing the humanities and critical theory, the other emphasizing the natural sciences and positivism. In Great Britain, archeology is often treated as separate from anthropology.
Archaeology (or archeology) is the study of human cultures through the analysis of material remains (such as architecture, artefacts, biofacts, the human body, landscapes).
Economics is a social science which studies human activity in relation to meeting wants and desires through the lens of price relationships. Originally called "political economy", the word "economy" coming from the Greek "oiko-" for house and "nomos" for laws or norms, the derivation provided by Rousseau in 1755.
The term "economics" was coined around 1870 and was popularized by Alfred Marshall, and can be said to diverge from political economy in that it focuses more specifically on price relationships. For a fuller discussion of the differences, see political economy and value. Note that the word "economist" predated "economics".
Modern market economics was concisely defined by Lionell Robbins in 1935: "Economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."
That is, the study of the trade offs involved between alternate sets of decisions. The central questions of economic theory are then what resources are scarce, and how does one make choices between the alternatives. The subject is said to be positive when it attempts to explain the consequences of different choices given a set of assumptions and normative when it prescribes a certain route of action.
Mainstream market economics focuses on the measurement of price, which are measurable quantities of the medium of exchange, generally money, which are involved in a transaction. Theories of value exist to explain the underlying quantities, if any, that price is said to measure. Divergences between price and actual outcomes occupy a large fraction of economic theory.
Aspects receiving particular attention in economics are resource allocation, trade, monetary policy and competition.
Geography is the study of the locational and spatial variation in both physical and human phenomena on Earth. The word derives from the Greek words he ge ("the Earth") and graphein ("to write", as in "to describe").
Geography is also the title of various historical books on this subject, notably the Geographia by Klaudios Ptolemaios (2nd century).
Geography is much more than cartography, the study of maps. It not only investigates what is where on the Earth, but also why it's there and not somewhere else, sometimes referred to as "location in space". It studies this whether the cause is natural or human. It also studies the consequences of those differences.
History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, such as in "geologic history of the Earth". When used as a field of study, history refers to human history, which is the recorded past of human societies.
The term "history" comes from the Greek historia, "an account of one's inquiries," and shares that etymology with the English word story.
Historians use many types of sources, including written or printed records, interviews (oral history), and archaeology. Different approaches may be more common in some periods than others, and the study of history has its fads and fashions (see historiography, the history of history). The events that occurred prior to human records are known as prehistory.
People have attempted to define language in a number of ways. Example definitions include the following:
- a system for representing things, actions, ideas and states
- a tool people use to communicate their concepts of reality into the minds of others
- a system of meanings shared among people
- a code that members of a linguistic community use to mediate between form and meaning
- a set of grammatically correct utterances (i.e. words, sentences, etc.)
- a set of utterances that could be understood by a linguistic community
Ferdinand de Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics, made a distinction between langue and parole.
In any case, human language is the most central meaning of language. The study of language is called linguistics.
Making a principled distinction between one human language and another is often not possible. One major issue is the dialect continuum phenomena, where the boundaries between named language groups are necessarily arbitrary. For instance, there are dialects of German very similar to Dutch which are not mutually intelligible with other dialects of (what we call) German.
Broadly conceived, linguistics is the study of human language and a linguist is someone who engages in this study. Linguistic inquiry is pursued by a wide variety of specialists, who may not all be in harmonious agreement; as Russ Rymer flamboyantly puts it:
"Linguistics is arguably the most hotly contested property in the academic realm. It is soaked with the blood of poets, theologians, philosophers, philologists, psychologists, biologists, and neurologists, along with whatever blood can be got out of grammarians."
A mythology is a relatively cohesive set of myths: stories that comprise a certain religion or belief system.
Philosophy is the critical study of the most fundamental questions that humankind has been able to ask. Philosophers ask questions like:
What is the nature of things that exist outside of us? Are there things in a natural world independent of our perception? Do our perceptions of reality match the actual reality that is "out there"? If so, how do we know?
Metaphysics: What does it mean to think, to have a mind? How can we know that other minds (i.e. other thinking beings) actually exist?
Is there a difference between right and wrong, and if so, how can we prove this? How do we apply theoretical ideas of right and wrong in practical situations?
Theology: What do we mean by the word "God"? Does God exist?
Epistemology: Is knowledge possible, and if so, what is knowledge?
Philosophy is paradigmatically concerned with fundamental concepts such as existence, goodness, knowledge, and beauty; philosophers have often been particularly concerned with asking critical questions about the natures of these concepts-questions which don't seem to be amenable to treatment by the special sciences.
Political science is the study of politics. It involves the study of structure and process in government -- or any equivalent system that attempts to assure safety, fairness, and closure across a broad range of risks and access to a broad range of commons for its human charges. Accordingly, political scientists often study trade unions, corporations, churches or other forms of collective intelligence that are not "political" in the sense of influencing law or executive decisions -- but have structure and process approaching that of government in complexity and interconnection.
Psychology is a collection of academic, clinical and industrial disciplines concerned with the explanation and prediction of behavioUr, thought-processes, emotions, motivations, relationships, potentials and pathologies. It might be said that many related disciplines live under the same name including: experimental psychology, which focuses on basic and applied science; humanistic psychology, which uses qualitative research rather than conventional statistical methods to investigate the subjective experience of human beings; clinical psychology and counselling psychology, which focus primarily on helping people overcome or better manage pathologies as well as transcend perceived limitations; and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which applies psychological principles to people working in organizations.
Sociology studies the social rules and processes that bind, and separate, people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions.
Anthony Giddens -- in his textbook "Sociology" -- defines sociology as the study of the societal lives of humans, groups and societies. Sociology is interested in our behavioUr as social beings; thus the sociological field of interest ranges from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes.
So, do you think you have made some progress in your preparation for the TOEFL test? You know the old saying: Rome wasn't built in a day. The definitions of the sciences are just one first step on your road to success, you will have to develop the habit of reading authentic English texts on a regular basis.
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please post them on this English Grammar Forum.