HISTORY OF APPLIED LINGUISTIC
GOOD AFTERNOON TO ALL
What is Linguistics?
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Linguists
do work on specific languages, but their primary goal is
to understand the nature of Language in general.
Linguistics is primarily concerned with the nature of
language and communication. There are broadly
three aspects to the study, including language form,
language meaning, and language use in discursive
and communicative contexts.
Branches of linguistics
Languages can be studied from different points of vew.
Therefore, the field of linguistics asa whole can be divided
into several subfields according to the point of view that is
adopted. General / descriptive linguistics: the first
distinction to be drawn is between general anddescriptive
linguistics. General linguistics has to do with studying
language in general,while descriptive linguistics refers to
describing particular languages.
Historical and non-historical linguistics:
Historical linguistics is concerned withinvestigating
the details of the historical development of
particular languages and withformulating general
hypothesis about language-change. The terms
³diachronic´ and³synchronic´ were first used by
Saussure. A diachrinic description of a language
traces thehistorical development of the language
and records the changes that have taken place.
Asynchronic description of a language is non-
historical: it presents an ccount of the languageas
it is at some particular point in life.
General linguisticsand descriptive linguistics are by no
means unrelated. Each depends upon the other:
generallinguistics supplies the concepts and categories in
terms of which particular languages are to be analysed;
descriptive linguistics, in its turn, provide the data which
confirm or refutethe propositions and theories put forward
in general linguistics. For example, the generallinguist
might formulate a hypothesis that all languages have nouns
and verbs. Thedescriptive linguist might refute this with
empirical data that there is at least one languagein which
the distinction between nouns and verbs cannot be
established. But, in order torefute, or confirm, the
hypothesis the descrpitive linguist must operate with some
conceptsof ³noun´ and ³verb´ which is provided by general
Branches of linguistics
Computational linguistics - is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the
logical modeling of natural language from a computational perspective. This
not limited to any particular field of linguistics. Computational linguistics was
usually done by computer scientists who had specialized in the application of
to the processing of a natural language. Recent research has shown that
language is much
more complex than previously thought, so computational linguistics work teams
sometimes interdisciplinary, including linguists (specifically trained in
Computational linguistics draws upon the involvement of linguists, computer
experts in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychologists and logicians, amongst
(originally comparative philology) is a branch of historical
linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages
in order to establish their
Relatedness implies a common origin or proto-language,
and comparative linguistics
aims to reconstruct proto-languages and specify the
changes that have resulted in the
documented languages. In order to maintain a clear
distinction between attested and
reconstructed forms, comparative linguists prefix an
asterisk to any form that is not found
in surviving texts
is a sub-field of linguistics. It studies variations in language based primarily
on geographic distribution (as opposed to variations based on social factors,
studied in sociolinguistics, or variations based on time, which are studied in
linguistics) and the features associated with it. Dialectology treats such
divergence of two local dialects from a common ancestor and synchronic
William Labov is one of the most prominent researchers in this field.
Dialectologists are ultimately concerned with grammatical and syntactical
correspond to regional areas. Thus they are usually dealing with polulations
living in their
areas for generations without moving, but also with immigrant groups
languages to new settlemets
is the study of the origins of words. Through old texts and comparison with
other languages, etymologists reconstruct the history of words — when they
language, from what source, and how their form and meaning changed.
In languages with a long written history etymology makes use of philology, the
old texts. However, etymologists also apply the methods of comparative
reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct
as writing) to be known. By comparing related languages with a technique
known as the
comparative method, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent
and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots have been found which can be
traced all the
way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family
is the study of rules governing the use of language. The
set of rules governing
a particular language's use is also called the grammar
of the language; thus, each
language can be said to have its own distinct grammar.
Grammar is part of the general
study of language called linguistics.
The subfields of contemporary grammar are phonetics,
phonology, morphology, syntax,
semantics, and pragmatics. Traditional grammars include
only morphology and syntax
When did it all begin?
• The term Applied Linguistics (AL) is an AngloAmerican
It was founded first at the University of
Edinburgh School of Applied Linguistics in
Then at the Center of Applied Linguistics in
Washington D.C. in 1957.
The British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
was formally established in 1967, with the following
aims: “the advancement of education by fostering
and promoting, by any lawful charitable means, the
study of language use, language acquisition and
language teaching and the fostering of inter-
disciplinary collaboration in this study” (BAAL, 1994).
It was largely taken for granted in the 1960s and
1970s that applied linguistics was about language teaching.
when did it all begins?
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
• Linguistics is primarily concerned with
language in itself and in findings ways of
analysing language and building theories that
Applied linguistics is concerned with the role of language in
peoples’ lives and problems associated with language use
in peoples’ lives. Linguistics is essential but not the only
- the study of the nature, structure and variation of
2. Education - teaching, learning, acquisition, assessment.
- the scientific study of human behavior and the study of
(the scientific study of the origin and behavior of man)
Prescription and description
Research currently performed under the name
"linguistics" is purely descriptive; linguists
seek to clarify the nature of language without
passing value judgments or trying to chart
future language directions. Nonetheless, there are
many professionals and amateurs who
also prescribe rules of language, holding a
particular standard out for all to follow.
Prescriptivists tend to be found among the ranks of language educators
and not in the actual academic discipline of linguistics. They hold clear
notions of what is
right and wrong, and may assign themselves the responsibility of
ensuring that the next
generation use the variety of language that is most likely to lead to
"success," often the
acrolect of a particular language. The reasons for their intolerance of
may include distrust of neologisms, connections to socially-
disapproved dialects (i.e.,
basilects), or simple conflicts with pet theories. An extreme version of
be found among censors, whose personal mission is to eradicate
words and structures
which they consider to be destructive to society.
Applied Linguistics or linguistics
Widdowson (2000, p. 5) presents the question in terms of
linguistics applied and applied linguistics:
“The differences between these modes of intervention is that in
the case of linguistics applied the assumption is that the problem
can be reformulated by the direct and unilateral application of
concepts and terms deriving from linguistic enquiry itself. That is
to say, language problems are amenable to linguistics solutions.
In the case of applied linguistics, intervention is crucially a
matter of mediation . . . applied linguistics . . . has to relate and
reconcile different representations of reality, including that of
linguistics without excluding others.”