Students studying linguistics and other language sciences for the first time often have misconceptions about what they are about and what they can offer them. They may think that linguists are authorities on what is correct and what is incorrect in a given language. But linguistics is the science of language; it treats language and the ways people use it as phenomena to be studied much as a geologist treats the earth. Linguists want to figure out how language works. They are no more in the business of making value judgments about people's language than geologists are in the business of making value judgments about the behavior of the earth.
Thumbnail: A game of Scrabble in French. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 4.0; Camille Gévaudan).