Language and the study of language have long provided models for anthropological approaches to culture. This chapter provides a brief sketch of the linguistic work out of which early cognitive anthropology emerged. It considers some of the more basic underlying issues and insights that emerged in early linguistics and have proved basic for our understanding of both language and culture. Linguistics classically included phonology and grammar; semantics and, later, pragmatics have been added, but never much attended to by linguists. Language (including its systems of meaning) has to be a productive system for enabling the generation and comprehension of meaningful speech. It is either included within culture, or stands as a major parallel learned system. The temptation to use language as a model for culture arises because language, like culture, is flexible, mental, and collective, and serves as a major vehicle for the communication of cultural content. Language is in many ways tightly structured and susceptible of rigorous formal characterization.