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By Kamil Wi niewski Aug 29th, 2007 Applied linguistics is an umbrella term that covers a wide set of numerous areas of study connected by the focus on the language that is actually used. The emphasis in applied linguistics is on language users and the ways in which they use languages, contrary to theoretical linguistics which studies the language in the abstract not referring it to any particular context, or language, like Chomskyan generative grammar for example. Interestingly even among applied linguists there is a difference of opinion as to the scope, the domains and limits of applied linguistics. There are many issues investigated by applied linguists such as discourse analysis, sign language, stylistics and rhetoric as well as language learning by children and adults, both as mother tongue and second or foreign language. Correlation of language and gender, as well as the transfer of information in media and interpersonal communication are analyzed by applied linguists. Also forensic linguistics, interpretation and translation, together with foreign language teaching methodology and language change are developed by applied linguistics. Shortly after the introduction of the term applied linguistics it was associated mainly with first, second and foreign language teaching, however nowadays it is seen as more interdisciplinary branch of science. Although in certain parts of the world language teaching remains the major concern of applied linguists, issues such as speech pathologies and determining the levels of literacy of societies, or language processing along with differences in communication between various cultural groups - all gain interest elsewhere. In European union the focus of applies linguistics is put on the issues connected with the language policy of this multilingual community. The primary aim is to keep the balance in fulfilling the need for lingua franca and maintaining smaller languages in order for them not to get devalued. This is a pressing matter as with the migration of people within the European union and from outside its boarders the mixture of languages is getting more and more complex. Therefore, the focus is also put on analyzing language attitudes, adopting common language policy, creating teaching textbooks and other materials. As it can be seen there are many trends in applied linguistics, some interconnected, others not having too much in common. There are, however, some very general tendencies among applied linguists to put more effort on certain investigations such as languages of wider communication, corpus analysis, or critical applied linguistics. When it comes to languages of wider communication it is clear that with the increasing numbers of international travels and technological advances the need for an international language raises. As English is the contemporary lingua franca applied linguists attempt to include language policy and planning in their interest, but is also concerned with analyzing language and identity, and special educational needs. Corpus analysis takes both quantitative and qualitative approach to the study of language and applied linguists focus of the identification of patterns of language use depending on social
Newcastle University If you tell someone you¶re an applied linguist. because it does not lend itself easily to the kind of research publications that university careers now depend upon. often carried out by ancillary staff. . Oxford: Elsevier. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics ± 2nd Edition. by looking at ways of improving language teaching. If you amplify ± it¶s to do with linguistics ± they still look baffled. The closeness of the link to linguistics is also crucial. Critical applied linguistics is interested in the social problems connected with language such as unemployment. genres and settings. What is applied linguistics? Vivian Cook. illiteracy and pedagogy. However in British universities language teaching itself is not highly valued. audiences. The motivation is that better teaching will be based on a better understanding of language. just English. The language teaching view of applied linguistics parallels TESOL or TEFL. linguistics the science of language? Ah so you speak lots of languages? Well no. Brown K. So what do you actually do? Well I look at how people acquire languages and how we can teach them better. They argue over whether it necessarily has anything to do with language teaching or with linguistics and whether it includes the actual description of language. they look at you with bafflement.context. The problem is that the applied linguists themselves don¶t have much clearer ideas about what the subject consists of. You know. not the applied linguists. At one extreme you need the latest ideas hot from MIT on the principle that information about linguistics must be up-to-date ± and linguistic theories change so fast that undergraduates discover their first year courses are out of date by their final year. It¶s up to the end users how they make practical use of the ideas. backed by a more rigorous study of language. At last light begins to dawn and they tell you a story about how badly they were taught French at school. All of these views exist among applied linguists and are reflected in the MA courses available at British universities under the label of applied linguistics. (Editor) 2005.
as are the descriptions of social networks or of gender differences (but not usually descriptions of grammar). Applied linguistics then means many things to many people. To many. Psychology enters into many courses. is it a separate discipline or a poor relative of linguistics? To some. On another dimension. On a third dimension the linguistic world is more or less divided between those who see language as masses of things people have said and those who see it as knowledge in people¶s minds. Discovering what a book or a course in applied linguistics is about . others test their ideas against the barest minimum of data. applied linguistics is applying theoretical linguistics to actual data. Now many who call themselves applied linguists seldom attend general organisations such as BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics) but go to more specialist conferences such as EUROSLA (European Second Language Association) for second language acquisition (SLA) or MATSDA (Materials Development Association) for materials construction. To some applied linguists the discipline draws on any subject with anything to say about language teaching or language learning. as does education. particularly ideas about testing and about language learning. SLA research has had an enormous growth over the past decades. drawing mostly on psychological models of language and language processing and on social models of interaction and identity. applied linguistics has become synonymous with SLA (though never linked to first language acquisition). . Sometime this is referred to as the issue of µautonomous applied linguistics¶. others are concerned with SLA in natural settings. Some SLA researchers analyse large corpora of learner¶s utterances or essays. To others linguistics is the sole source of ideas. they are then more like linguists who happen to use SLA data than investigators of SLA in its own right. It enters into all of the above debates. Hence the construction of dictionaries or the collection of µcorpora¶ of millions of words of English are applied linguistics.This raises the issue whether other disciplines are as important as linguistics for applied linguistics. however. including the study of first language acquisition and computational linguistics. neither side really accept that the other has a valid point of view. SLA can be seen as providing data to test out linguistic theories rather than to increase our knowledge of SLA itself. Once applied linguistics seemed boundless. Some people are concerned with classroom language acquisition because of its teaching implications.
D.involves reading the small print to discover its orientation. before they back a particular horse. This does not mean that most prospective MA students should not look very carefully. . One of my students who came to an MA course as an EFL course-writer ended up doing a Ph. Of course many people discover unexpected delights. Those with an interest in linguistic theory are going to feel frustrated when bombarded with classroom teaching techniques. those who want to handle large amounts of spoken or written data will be disappointed by single example sentences or experiments. say checking the titles of the modules that actually make up the degree scheme. thesis and book on learnability theory.
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