There are over 5000 living languages in the world, more than the number of races of mankind. The study of these languages is called linguistics.
Linguistics concerns itself with the identification and classification of sounds, their construction and relationship with each other. The major divisions of linguistics are phonetics, phonology and morphology.
The study of vocal sounds. All vocal (spoken) sounds can be identified and classified. Transcription of these sounds is made using the International Phonetic Alphabet: a set of symbols representing individual sounds. These symbols can usually be found at the front of a dictionary.
The study of the sounds within a language. Each of these sounds is called a phoneme. The International Phonetic Alphabet provides the means for the speaker of one language to correctly pronounce the phonemes from another.
In practice this often proves difficult. For example, there is no equivalent German phonemes to the English w and th. They can only be pronounce correctly with practice (with usually comes out as wiz or fiz).
The study of the structure of words. A group of phonemes that makes linguistic sense is called a morpheme. Words are constructed from one or more morphemes. Morphemes should not be confused with syllables.