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applied linguistics

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applied linguistics

An Introduction to Applied Linguistics: From Practice to Theory, 2nd ed., by Alan Davies (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

Definition:

The use of language-related research in a wide variety of fields, including language acquisition, language teaching, literacy, literary studies, gender studies, speech therapy, discourse analysis, censorship, workplace communication, media studies, translation studies, lexicography, and forensic linguistics.

See also:

Observations:

  • "Applied linguistics began life in the 1950s as a postgraduate qualification. Its initial target, largely language teaching, has always been practical, policy-oriented. Its preparation at postgraduate level has been multidisciplinary and, as in mathematics, there is a continuing tension between pure (general, theoretical) linguistics and applied linguistics. It does not expect its conclusions to be buttressed with certainty (and it is unclear whether theoretical linguistics or any other social science can expect that, either). For applied linguistics, there is no finality: the problems such as how to assess language proficiency, what is the optimum age to begin a second language, what distinguishes native and non-native speakers, how we can treat memory loss, these problems may find local and temporary solutions but the problems recur. No doubt, once again, the same may be said of theoretical linguistics: whether all grammars are fundamentally one grammar; what the relation is between the sign and the referent; answers are partial, never final--the problems remain."
    (Alan Davies, An Introduction to Applied Linguistics: From Practice to Theory, 2nd ed. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2007)


  • "[A]pplied linguistics is an area of work that deals with language use in professional settings, translation, speech pathology, literacy, and language education; and it is not merely the application of linguistic knowledge to such settings but is a semiautonomous and interdisciplinary . . . domain of work that draws on but is not dependent on areas such as sociology, education, anthropology, cultural studies, and psychology."
    (Alastair Pennycook, Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. Routledge, 2001)
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