Dr. Mohammad Ghazanfari
English Language Department
Fersdowsi University of
7. Applied linguistics not merely
restricted to language teaching
Theories about the nature of human
language are, of course, of use to other
people besides the language teacher. It
would be a mistake to associate applied
linguistics exclusively with language
teaching. There are other people who are
engaged in practical activities which
involve language in a central role for
whom a knowledge of its nature could be
of use in dealing with problems which
arise in their work:
the speech therapist, the literary critic, the
communications engineer, for example.
We do not uniquely associate applied
linguistics with any single one of these
activities. Whilst applied linguistics and
language teaching may be closely
associated, they are not one and the
same activity. (Corder, p. 10)
8. Applied linguistics not a
The application of linguistic knowledge to
some object—or applied linguistics, as its
name implies—is an activity. It is not a
theoretical study. It makes use of the
findings of theoretical studies. The applied
linguist is a consumer, or user, not a
producer, of theories. If we use the term
'theory' as it is used in science, then there
is no such thing as a 'theory of language
teaching' or a 'theory of speech therapy'
or a 'theory of literary criticism'.
Language teaching is also an activity, but teaching
language is not the same activity as applied
linguistics. However, if we interpret language
teaching in the very broadest sense, to include
all the planning and decision-making which takes
place outside the classroom, then there may be
an element of applied linguistics in all language
teaching. Just as there may be an element of
applied linguistics in all speech therapy or all
literary criticism. (Corder, pp. 10-11)
In spite of the many hundreds of years through
which language has been studied in our
civilization, we still know little about many of its
aspects. The pace of investigation has quickened
in recent years and the methods of investigation
have increasingly been made more rigorous, to
the point that we can now, with some
justification and within certain defined
boundaries, claim that linguistic studies are
scientific. . . . We are still a long way from
achieving some sort of rigorous systematization
in studying language.
For this reason, linguistics can, as yet,
scarcely claim to give firm answers to any
but a few problems in language teaching.
Applied linguistics as a field of study is
scarcely twenty years old [that is, until
the publication of Corder's book, in the
beginning years of 1970s]. The reader
must judge for himself how much has
been achieved in that time. (Corder, p.
(adapted from Guy Cook, 2003, pp. 78)
Since language is implicated (involved )درگیر، دخیلin
so much of our daily lives, there is clearly a large
and open-ended number of quite disparate
activities to which applied linguistics is relevant.
So even with these examples, the scope of
applied linguistics remains rather vague. To get
at a more precise definition of the field we need
to be more specific. We need not just to give
examples but to classify the kinds of problem we
are concerned with in a systematic way, and so
map out the scope of our area.
In other words, we need to refer specific instances
to more general conceptual areas of study. These
areas can be identified under three headings as
1 Language and education
This area includes:
First-language education, when a child studies
their home language or languages.
Additional-language education, often divided
into second-language education,
when someone studies their society's
majority or official language which is not
their home language, and foreignlanguage education, when someone
studies the language of another country.
Clinical linguistics: the study and
treatment of speech and communication
impairments, whether hereditary,
developmental, or acquired (through
injury, stroke, illness, or age).
Language testing: the assessment and
evaluation of language achievement and
proficiency, both in first and additional
languages, and for both general and specific
2 language, work, and law
This area includes:
Workplace communication: the study of how
language is used in the workplace, and how it
contributes to the nature and power relations of
different types of work.
planning: the making of decisions,
often supported by legislation, about the official
status of languages and their institutional use,
including their use in education.
Forensic linguistics: the deployment of
linguistic evidence in criminal and other legal
investigations, for example, to establish the
authorship of a document, or a profile of a
speaker from a tape-recording.
language, information, and effect
This area includes:
Literary stylistics: the study of the relationship
between linguistic choices and effects in
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA): the study
of the relationship between linguistic choices and
effects in persuasive uses of language, of how
these indoctrinate or manipulate (for example, in
marketing and politics), and the counteracting of
this through analysis.
and interpretation: the
formulation of principles underlying the perceived
equivalence between a stretch of language and
its translation, and the practices of translating
written text and interpreting spoken language.
Information design: the arrangement and
presentation of written language, including issues
relating to typography and layout, choices of
medium and effective combinations of language
with other means of communication such as
pictures and diagrams.
the planning and
compiling of both monolingual and
bilingual dictionaries and other language
reference works such as thesauri.
All of these areas fall within our definition
of applied linguistics and are claimed as
areas of enquiry by organizations and
journals concerned with the discipline. Yet
in practice some of them are more
independent than others.
Clinical linguistics and translation studies in
particular are often regarded as
independent disciplines. Among the others
some--such as the study of foreign
language learning--are more active as
areas of academic enquiry than others.
D A V I E S, A. (1999/2007). An Introduction to Applied
Linguistics: From Practice to Theory (2nd. ed.). Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press.
Cook, G. (2003). Applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford
Corder, S. P. (1973). Introducing applied linguistics.
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books.
Crystal, D. (1992). An encyclopedic dictionary of lalnguage &
languages. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Kaplan, R. B. (Ed.). (2002). The Oxford handbook of applied
linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schmitt, N. (Ed.). (2002). An introduction to applied
linguistics. London: Arnold.
Coffin, C., Lillis, T. & O’Halloran, K. (Eds.) (2010).
Applied linguistics methods: A reader. London and New