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Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of linguistics that identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related real-life problems. In other words, a pplied linguistics is a branch of linguistics that deals with solving social problems involving language. It appeared as a response to the move away of linguistics from social problems to cover the shortcomings of general linguistics.
The problems applied linguistics concerns itself with are likely to be:
How can we teach languages better?
How can we diagnose speech pathologies أمراض الكلام better?
How can we improve the training of translators and interpreters?
How can we write a valid language examination?
How can we evaluate a school bilingual program?
How can we determine the literacy levels of a whole population?
How can we helpfully discuss the language of a text?
T hose who write about applied linguistics accept that the label "applied linguistics" refers to language teaching (in its widest interpretation, therefore including speech therapy, translation and interpreting studies, language planning, etc.). Applied linguistics in this tradition is not new. Throughout the history of formal language teaching there has always been some sort of applied li nguistics, as it is known today.
Definitions of applied linguistics may take the form of a short statement, such as: the theoretical and empirical investigation of real-world problems in which language is a central issue . Another definition of Applied Linguistics is that it is using what we know about (a) language, (b) how it is learned, and (c) how it is used, in order to achieve some purpose or solve some problem in the real world"
Traditionally, the primary concerns of Applied Linguistics have been 1) second language acquisition theory, 2) second language pedagogy and the 2) interface between the two. Grabe states that the focus of applied linguistics is on trying to resolve language-based problems that people encounter in the real world, whether they be learners, teachers, supervisors, academics, lawyers, service providers, those who need social services, test takers, policy developers, dictionary makers, translators, or a whole range of business clients .
The Distinction between Linguistics and Applied Linguistics:
Kaplan proposed that applied linguistics is simply not in the business of developing new theories. Its concern is with new data. Kaplan suggests that applied linguists "are likely to move toward the analysis of new data, rather than continue to argue new theory" As such, the linguistics that will be of most use to the upcoming applied linguistics will be descriptive linguistics. In other words, general linguistics is mainly concerned with developing theories of language, while applied linguistics is concerned with analyzing data about language.
Obviously, applied linguistics appeared in three countries, The USA, Australia and Britain. In the USA, it starts with a gradual move from the focus on linguistics.
Angelis summarizes this history as follows:
Applied Linguistics in North America does have identifiable roots in linguistics.
While North American applied linguistics has evolved over time, in its orientation and scope, so has North American linguistics.
A significant amount of work directed to real-world issues involving lan guage can be attributed to leading North American linguists, although not characterized as applied linguistics.
Much of what can now be seen as groundbreaking applied linguistics type activity was carried out prior to the formal appearance of applied linguistics or of linguistics as recognized fields of endeavor.
L-A and A-L :
In order to distinguish between two traditions, that of applied linguistics and that of applications of linguistics, Widdowson 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 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 rel ate and reconcile different rep resentations of reality, including that of linguistics without excluding others.
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