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Applied linguistics is the branch of linguistics concerned with using linguistic theory to address real-world problems. It has been traditionally dominated by the fields of language education and second language acquisition. There is a recurrent tension between those who regard the field as limited to the study of language learning, and those who see it as encompassing all applications of linguistic theory. Both definitions are widely used.
The field of applied linguistics first concerned itself with second language acquisition, in particular errors and contrastive analysis, in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, with the failure of contrastive analysis as a theory to predict errors, applied linguists began to adopt Noam Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar to explain second language learning phenomena. In the 1990s, more and more researchers began to employ research methods from cognitive psychology.
While sociolinguistics and discourse analysis have played an increasingly important role within the field, whether applied linguistics should concern itself with the political ramifications of linguistics has been much debated. One outcome of this debate has resulted in the formation of Critical Applied Linguistics, which is considered either a separate discipline or an offshoot of applied linguistics proper.
The American Association for Applied Linguistics formed in the 1970s when it began holding separate conferences from the Linguistic Society of America. Britain and Canada have similar associations while the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée serves a more international forum.
Major journals include Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Modern Language Review, Language Learning, Applied Linguistics, AILA Journal, and the TESOL Quarterly.
- Communicative competence
- Dell Hymes
- Henry Widdowson
- Language education
- Second language acquisition
- Speech act
- Total Physical Response
- American Association for Applied Linguistics homepage
- Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée homepage
- Association Canadienne de Linguistique Appliquée / Canadian Association of Applied Linguistic homepage
- Center for Applied Linguistics homepage
- Applied Linguistics.org homepagede:Angewandte Linguistik
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