Lecture Notes on Applied Linguistics

For Students of Applied Linguistics and Translation

©2015 Academic Paper 107 Pages


Linguistics can be defined as "the scientific study of a language – any language – by virtue of description and analysis" – a major concept, introduced by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure(1857-1913), one of the pioneering early exponents of modern linguistics. According to him:
"the one and the only correct subject of linguistics is language, which involves in itself for the sake of itself" (Al-Saaran: 1962, p.49).
Some enormous attempts were made by Dr. Mohamoud Al-Sa'aran to explain and interpret F.D. Saussure's working words on linguistics in this context, as he points out:
"The researcher of a language studies a language for its sake. Also she/he studies it as it appears, without any oscillation. The researcher has no right to confine herself/himself to explaining and investigating only one aspect of a language, by reason of her//his highly commendation and to abandon the other attempts to explore the other aspect of language recklessly and wildly, because of her/his disapproval and disapprobation , as well as her//his frivolity of it. Furthermore, she/ he acts according to her/his own desire or for any other reason" (Ibid, p.51).
On his turn, Al-Sa'aran also explains the working words of F.D. Saussure "for its own sake", by saying that:
"the researcher studies language objectively in order to explore and probe its reality. She/he does not aim at achieving, for instance, either pedagogical objectives or any working goals. Fittingly, the researcher does not study language in order to enhance and to correct one of its aspects or to make any other amendments on it. But, she/he has to confine herself/himself to describing and analyzing language objectively" (Ibid, p.51).


Table Of Contents

A careful and close scrutiny of this accounts and interpretations revealed
the prevailing attitudes of the concepts of linguistics. The term ,,structural
linguistics" sometimes is widely used in an extremely specific concept to
refer to particular approaches of ,,theoretical/general linguistics", that is
in the framework of description and structural linguistics. In so far as the
subject attempts to establish general principles for study of all languages,
and to determine the characteristics and traits of human language, as
phenomenon, it may be called ,,general linguistics" or ,,theoretical
linguistics", when it concentrates on establishing the facts of a particular
language system or ,,descriptive linguistics", because the latter is the
source of ,,modern linguistics". It is worth mentioning that this concept
prevails in the linguists' minds up to the present. Some linguistics'
stringent viewpoints are worth mentioning here, when the term
,,linguistics" was considered deliberately by them as ,,general linguistics",
if it comes feely from any description.
The above-mentioned working definition of linguistics is no longer to be
comprehensive in our time, especially, after the development of
linguistics as a separate discipline, as well as the emergence of mental
cognitive attitudes whose associates have always been interested in
undertaking and conducting research on the linguistic operations inside
human brain, such as language acquisition, language development,
language comprehension, its use and its problems. These scholars were
more interested in the above-mentioned areas of language study than
other domains, such as description of language grammar formally and
structurally. Moreover, this working definition did not include the term
,,applied linguistics", the other branch of this discipline which embodies
and embraces ,,psycholinguistics", the current main subject of this book.
It is obvious that these working definitions did not include ,,linguistics" at
that time, because ,,general linguistics" is a branch of linguistics.

Furthermore, it was co significant and analogous with/to the ,,linguistics".
Additionally, ,,applied linguistics" did not emerge except in mid-
twentieth century. It is worth mentioning here that, the scholars of
descriptive linguistics did not admit or accept that ,,applied linguistics" is
a branch of ,,linguistics" except only much later.
Dr. Mahamoud Hejazi (1973:31) defined ,,modern linguistics"
extensively and effectively in concise mode of expression by saying that:
,,Linguistics in a simple definition is the scientific study of language"
(ibid, p.31). ,,The scientific study", as it was expressed by Dr.Hejazi,
means that, it includes all the branches of linguistics the old as well as the
new, either theoretical or practical. Additionally, the best, the surest and
the shred evidence of that, Dr.Hejazi successively and consecutively
adhered to this working definition many important various fields, so they
may be applicable to and some branches of linguistics. (Ibid, p.47).
Furthermore, studying language in a such way, may pave road in
searching some types of linguistic studies curricula, as well as
interpretations and explanations and other linguistic studies which were
not included in the working definition of ,,structural descriptive school of
linguistics (SDSL), but was assured and confirmed by ,,innate cognitive
Now, it is possible for us to define the branches and fields of linguistics
comprehensively and in detail by saying that ,,linguistics" is the scientific
study of human language' aspects: phonology, morphology, syntax,
semantics, stylistics, pragmatics and culture, as well as language
acquisition, language use, and methods of learning and teaching
In view of the fact that ,,linguistics" is the general field of studying
linguistics science, besides undertaking and conducting studies and
research in all its aspects and disciplines, such as phonology,

morphology, syntax and mentioned a few, with special regards to these
working aspects that is from social and cultural, psychological, mental,
and physiological and biological standpoints, in addition to some related
matters that are relevant to language analysis, investigation, description,
acquisition, and language learning and teaching, as well as language use
in scientific domains such as mathematics, statistics, computer science
and technology of teaching languages.
On the basis of the above-mentioned accounts and definitions, the main
subject of (linguistics) is the language itself and aims at studying,
analyzing, acquiring, learning and teaching all its aspects, besides
interpretation and explanation. The intended language in this context: the
human language and with its general concepts, namely, general human
language on which we undertake and conduct research and studies which
may come out with principles and general language rules, that may rule
languages and control language use and language acquisitions. But this is
not specified to a certain language such as Arabic or French or English
language, unless these intended languages will be studied in the light of
linguistics rules or studied in order to reach the general rules of human
Linguistics is related one of modern sciences. As an academic discipline
the development of this subject has been recent and rapid, having become
particularly known and taught since the of the nineteenth century and the
beginning of twentieth century at the hands of European linguists such as
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), Nikilaj Trubetzkoy (1890-1938),
Roman Jacobson (1896-1982), Louis Hjelmslev (1899-1965), Andre
Martinet (1908-), as well as American linguists such as Leonard
Bloomfield (1887-1949), Edward Sapir (1884-1923), Otto Jespersen
(1860-1943), Franz Boas(1858-1942), Kenneth Pike(1912-), Zelling
Harris (1909-) and Noam Chomsky (1928-) and other outstanding

linguists. But, the traits of this discipline did not manifest itself until at
the end of the half of twentieth century.
Linguistics as an academic discipline has passed through different stages.
Each stage is characterized with various schools and attitudes which are
also distinguished with their different views towards the nature of
language and its curricula, descriptions, analysis, parsing,first/ second
language acquisition, as well as teaching and learning language. The most
prominent school that emerged at that time, ,,Structural School" and
which was established at the hands of the Swiss linguist F.D. Saussure
(1887-1913), one of the most early exponents of modern linguistics, made
a major contributions to the study of language structure with his
colleagues. It is worth mentioning that, the cognitive theory which was
headed by Noam Chomsky at the second half of twentieth century has
been influential on schools in many different fields. In other words, that
,,Cognitive theory" holds an unchallenged supremacy in the field and
domain of linguistic studies. From each of the school emerged a number
of theories, attitudes, approaches and concepts.
However, the emergence of linguistics ­ with its different schools,
approaches and attitudes ­ was considered by many scholars a revolution
over traditional curricula which were dominant on linguistic studies in the
West till the end of nineteenth century. Moreover, the traditional curricula
researchers were based on traditional rules of languages as well as
investigating old texts of languages by conducting and undertaking
studies of comparison and contrast on them.

Arabic Language in Arab Resources
In letter and spirit, the term ,,linguistics" was not a new science in Arabic
linguistic studies. The early Arab linguists used this term for the study of
vocabulary structurally and lexically, and then classified them in books or
dictionaries. Fittingly, some other linguists used the same term
,,linguistics" for the general study of language. The old linguists of
Arabic language did not distinguish between the term ,,linguistics" ­
which our present concern ­ and the term ,,philology" because the word
,,philology" means ,,science", by virtue of its denotative or dictionary
meaning, and in accordance with the use of their intended term in
,,jurisprudence science".
Linguistics has other names in contemporary Arabic language, rather than
,,science of language" such as: ,,linguistics", ,,science of tongue", ,,al-
isaniyat", ,,al-alisineia", ,,general linguistics". Some of these names are
more common spread in other certain areas than others in Arab world.
The ,,science of language" and ,,linguistics" are used commonly in the
Arab East, additionally, the term ,,al-alisineia" is also used commonly in
Syria, and in Lebanon in particular(Bakla, p.732). Moreover, the term ,,al-
isaniyat" is used more commonly in the North West of Africa (Dr.Omer.
ibid, p.27). Furthermore, the uses of other terms did not spread, such as
,,Science of languages", ,,lisana",lisaniya" and ,,lisanyat".(Ba'alabki,
p.288) During the last ten years, these terms began to translocate and
move from Arab region to other regions and spread commonly in its non
original areas. (Al-Masdi, et. al. N.P).
All of the above-mentioned terms are equivalent to English term
,,linguistics" which means ,,science of language", French term
,,linguistique", German term ,,linguistica". Fittingly, the origin and
etymology of all these terms refer to the Latin word ,,Lingua" which
means ,,language or tongue" (Bakla, p.731).

Branches of Linguistics
As I mentioned earlier that, linguistics is divided into two major branches
including, ,,general linguistics" and ,,applied linguistics". Each branch of
these major branches embodies many branches which forks into more
smaller and narrower ones. General linguistics include and comprise the
following working branches:-
1. Historical Linguistics.
2. Comparative Linguistics.
3. Descriptive Linguistics.
4. Geolinguistics./ Geographical Linguistics.
5. Philology.
6. Phonetics (three branches of subject are generally recognized as
(articulatory, auditory and acoustic phonetics).
7. Phonology (which is concerned with the range and function of
sounds in specific language).
8. Morphology.
9. Syntax.
11. Lexicology.
13. Ethnolinguistcs.
Major branches of applied linguistics include the following:
1. Learning/teaching First/Foreign Language.
2. Language Pedagogy.
3. Language Testing.
4. Language Laboratories.
5. Psycholinguistics.
6. Neuro linguistics.

8. Sociolinguistics.
9. Computational Linguistics.
10. Lexicography.
11. Translation.
12. Literacy.
13. Speech Therapy.
14. Stylistics.
15. Discourse Analysis/ Text Linguistics.
16. Language Policies.
17. Language Planning.
It is worth mentioning that, some branches of general linguistics and
applied linguistics were not mentioned above, that is due to linguists'
almost and virtually unanimous disagreement about them, or may be
embodied in one or more branches. Some of these branches include:
Clinical Linguistics, Critical Linguistics., Statistical Linguistics.
Mathematical Linguistics (Crystal, ibid. 205).
It is worth mentioning that, the overlapping of linguistics and other
discipline has led to the setting up of new branches of the subject in both
pure and applied, such as lexicology, which is considered a theoretical
branch of linguistics. Equally enough, it overlaps with lexicography
which is considered a branch of applied linguistics.
On the one hand some of these disciplines can be embodied in general
linguistics and at the same time, they can be studied empirically on the
other; thus embodied in applied linguistics, for example, computational
linguistics can be classified under the branch of general linguistics or
theoretical linguistics, if it is used in linguistic analysis, on the one hand,
and as the same time can classified under the branch of applied

linguistics, if it is used or its results and application are also used in
learning language, for instance, language learning by using computer,
which is currently known as ,,Computer ­Assistance Language Learning
(CALL). It is important to cast some light on this kind of considerable
overlap between computational linguistics and statistical linguistics,
especially in some working functions and goals. Also, these two
disciplines need to be combined with each other in the field of linguistics
analysis by using computer.
Dr Ahmed Mukhtar Omer has mentioned that the savant and the scholar
Khaleel ibn Ahmed (60=140 AH) was the first person who created and
invented statistical linguistics, when he attempted to calculate the words
of Arabic language by using the two theories of permutations
for Arabic
alphabets in comparison with the size of active words in Arabic language,
which are bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, quinqueliteral. Dr. Omer
definitely merited and deserved further consideration as form of patterns
of computational linguistics studies (Dr. Omer: 104).
Furthermore, the language laboratories which can be used in linguistic
analysis is considered a theoretical discipline. However, it is considered
an applied discipline when used in language learning. Even, some of
European and American universities offer higher linguistics degrees and
certificates in language laboratory which is meant ,,Linguistic analysis".
It is worth mentioning that, ,,psycholinguistics" ­the main subject of the
current book- is considered a branch of applied linguistics, because it has
theoretical bases which are equivalent to its applied aspects., that is
,,Applied Linguistics" (There is American Linguistic Magazine entitled
,,Applied Linguistics"). Psycholinguistics is sometimes considered
linguistic, theoretical discipline on the basis of its correlation with innate
cognitive linguistics which was founded by Noam Chomsky. Hence most
issues of linguistics got transformed into of psycholinguistic issues.

Also, I want to draw your attention to the fact of some researchers who
see that linguistics cannot be divided into two major theoretical and
applied branches. However they considered these two majors branches
one discipline so that some sets of branches embodied under it. These
branches are correlated and interrelated directly with original linguistics.
Fittingly, the researcher can divide linguistics - by virtue of the system in
which each branch pursues ­ into:-Historical Linguistics, Descriptive
Linguistics, General Linguistics, Functional Linguistics, Structural
Linguistics, Generative Transformational Linguistics, Comparative
Applied Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics,
Ethno linguistics, Statistical Linguistics., Computational Linguistics etc.
(Lyons, pp.34-36).
Some researchers think that, applied linguistics is a major branch of
linguistics, but it is amalgamation of various disciplines which did not
have any correlation and interrelation with linguistics, except when it was
concerned with language learning and teaching, besides undertaking
research in its applied fields.(Samson, p H.T) This is structuralists' same
viewpoint, who did not believe in applied linguistic theory, they confine
it in the domain of education which is considered by them pedagogical
work or application for linguistic theories in language learning in the
most cases.
I think that, the several glaring inconsistencies in the viewpoints about the
reality of applied linguistics and its correlation and interrelation with
original linguistics negatively or positively are due to two main reasons:
The First Reason: Structural linguists' domination and supremacy over
most branches of applied linguistics and its program, in 1950s and 1960s,
especially in programs of learning/teaching \English as second language
in Britain and United State of America. These structural linguists such as:

Charles Fries and Robert Lado who confined applied linguistics to
practicing the theories of linguistics on language learning and teaching.
Moreover, the structural linguists confused applied linguistics with
linguistic applications which has led to provoke counter reaction to deny
this domination or supremacy which inculcated this concept /into
(Al-Aseeli: Former Studies entitled Teaching Arabic Language between
Applied Linguistics & Linguistic Applications).
The Second Reason: Some theoretical linguists confined applied
linguistics to educational aspects, in view of the fact that, the other
aspects which involved in, did not belong to it. However, these theoretical
linguists took the view that the other aspects of applied linguistics are
general theoretical linguistics disciplines or psycholinguistic or
sociolinguistic disciplines. Fittingly, this view is limited and incapable, as
opposed as to the nature of emergence of sciences as well as its progress
and development.

Lecture (1)
Applied Linguistics
1. What is Language?
· Language may be defined as human speech in either spoken or
written from. The word is derived from (lingua), which in Latin
means tongue. Loosely speaking, it may mean by any system of
communication including traffic lights and signals.
· Language is the system of human communication which consists of the
structural arrangement of sounds (or their written representation) into
larger units: e.g. is morphemes, words, sentences, utterances. In common
usage it can also refer to non-human systems of communication such as
the' language' of bees, the ' language ' of dolphins.
· Many animals and even plant, species communicate with each
other. {HOW?}
It has been proposed that bee can communicate. When a worker finds a
source of nectar and returns to the hive, it can perform a complex dance
routine to communicate to the other bees the location of this nectar.
· Human language is unique (unusually good and special) {WHY?}
a) Being a symbolic communication system that is learned in of
instead of biologically inherited.
b] the properties of DISPLCEMENT which allows the users of
language to talk about things and events not present in the immediate
environment.Animal commutation considered to lack this property.
c) The forms of human language demonstrate property called
ARBTRARINESS: they do not,in any way, ,,fit" the objects they denote.
For example.the English word ,,dog" does not in any way physically
resemble the animal it stands for.

d) the properties of human language PRODUCTIVITY which is
linked to the fact that the potential number of utterances in any human
language is infinite.
Language may be defined as human speech in either spoken or written
from. The word is derived from (lingua), which in Latin means tongue.
Loosely speaking, it may mean by any system of communication
including traffic lights and signals.
2. What is Linguistics?
· Linguistics is usually defined as (the scientific study of language).
Such statement, however, raises two further questions: What do we
mean by ,,scientific"? And what do we mean by ,,language"? The
first one can be answered relatively easily but the second needs to
be examined more fully. When we say that linguistics aims to be
scientific, we mean that he attempts to study languages in much the
same way as a scientist studies physics or chemistry, that is
systematically, and as far as possible without prejudice. It means
observing language use forming hypotheses about it, testing these
hypotheses and then refining them on the basis of the evidence
· Linguistics, i, e, the science of language, can be divided in to two
major branches: theoretical linguistics and applied linguistics.
Theoretical linguistics is branched into many fields. The branch of
linguistic that studies the historical development of language is called
diachronic linguistic, or philology

Lecture (2)
Various Definitions of Applied Linguistics.
A. Applied linguistics is a branch of linguistics that addresses
language problems in real-world context.
B. Applied linguistics is the utilization of the knowledge about the
nurture of language achieved by linguistics research for the
improvement of the efficiency of some practical task in which
language is a central component.
C. Applied linguistics is the academic discipline concerned with the
relation of knowledge about language to decision making in the
real world.
· Language is at the heart of human life. Without it, many of
our most important activities are inconceivable.
· The possession of language, perhaps more than any other
attribute, distinguished human from other animals.
· To understand our humanity, one must understand the nature
of language that makes us human.
· language is the source of human life and power.
· language use, then, is in many ways a natural phenomenon
beyond conscious control.
· there are aspects of language use in which we can intervene
and about which, consequently, there are decisions there are
many questions to be asked, such as:
A. What language skills should children attain beyond
basic literacy?
B. Should children speak a dialect be encouraged to
maintain it or steered towards the standard form of a

C. In communities with more than one language which
ones should be used in schools?
D. Should deaf children learn a sign language?
E. Should everyone learn a foreign languages, and if
so, which one ones?
F. Should every child study literature?.
G. Language Changes, should change be controlled?
H. Some language are dying, Should that be prevented
I. Is it better for people to learn each other's languages
or use translation?
J. Should the growth of English as the international
lingua franca be welcomed or deplored?
· All of these questions, and many more like them need,
demand answer
· To answer them it seems reasonable that we should set out to
investigate and understand the facts of language use.
· These are the aims ­ and aspiration ­ of applied linguistics.
It is the academic discipline concerned with the relation of
knowledge about language to decision making in the real
world. The end.

Self-Assessment (2)
1) What is Applied Linguistics?
2) What is the difference between theoretical linguistics and applied
3) Discuss briefly the linguistic and educational questions needed to
be answered and investigated by using an academic discipline
concerned with the relations of knowledge about language to
decision making in the real world.
a) ...
b) ...
c) ...
d) ...
e) ...

f) ...
g) ...
h) ...
i) ...
4) ...
5) Choose the best answer from the following alternatives:
a) In recent decades, applied linguistics has been a ...
i. polemic.
ii. natural.
iii. conscious.
b) Linguistics is a ... study of language.
i. perspective.
ii. scientific
iii. sought.
c) One of the major applications of applied linguistics to the
real world activities has been its applications to :
i. Language testing.
ii. Language teaching
iii. A+ B
d) Wherever human exist, ... exists.
i. applied linguistics.
ii. Linguistics.
iii. language

Lecture (3)
The Scope of Applied Linguistics
· Applied linguistics is the empirical investigation of real world
problem in which language is a central issue.
· 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, academic, lawyers, service
providers, those who needs social services, test makers, policy
developers, dictionary makers, translators, or a whole range of
· Grabes(2000:9) notes that distinguishing between what pure
linguistics and Applied linguistics with is to distinguish between
theory and practice :
,,Pure Linguistics or Theatrical Linguistics is a field of a scientific
investigation.Applied Linguistics is an activity of making use of
the available body of knowledge"
The scope Applied Linguistics remains rather vague.
Applied is in our view a coherent activity which theories through
a speculative and empirical investigations real world problems in
which language a central issue.
to classify these problems so the following map out the scopes of
Applied Linguistics:

Language and
Language, work and
information and
1srt ­language
Literary stylistics
language education
Language planning
Discourse analysis
Language education
Forensic linguistics
Translation and
Clinical linguistics
Information design
Language testing
Second language means when someone studies their society's
majority or official language which is not their home land. Foreign-
language education, when someone studies the language of another

Self-Assessment (3)
1. What is the focus of Applied Linguistics?
2. Grabes (2000:9) notes that distinguishing between what pure
linguistics and Applied linguistics with is to distinguish between
theory and practice. Discuss.
3. What are the subfields of Applied Linguistics?
1. ...
2. ...
3. ...
4. ...
5. ...
6. ...
7. ...

8. ...
9. ...
10. ...
11. ...
12. ...
13. ...
4. Highlight the differences between Second-language education and
foreign-language education?
5. Define the Following Linguistic Terms briefly:
a. Lexicography...
b. Forensiclinguistics...
c. Clinicallinguistics...
d. Languagetesting:...

Lecture (4)
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics: a Difficult Relationship
· The difference between Linguistics and Applied Linguistics is not
just that Linguistics deals with theory while AL deals with
applications but that Al tries to develop language themes of its own
which are more relevant to the questions. Applied Linguistics seeks
to answer than those developed by theatrical linguistics.
· Linguistics is the academic discipline concerned with study of
language in general.
· Linguistics is bound to represent an abstract idealization of
language rather than the way it is experienced in the real world
Because like any discipline, linguistics looks for generalities
underlying actual appearance.
Generative linguistics introduced by Noam Chomsky from the late
In Chomsky's view the proper subject matter of linguistics should
be representation by of language in the mind (competence), rather
than the way in which people actually use language in everyday
life (performance).
Competence means: refers to one's underlying knowledge of a
system, event, of fact. It is the non-observable ability to do
something, to perform something.
Performance means: is the overtly observable and concreter
manifestation or realization of competence. It is the actual doing of
something ,,waking, speaking,

Chomsky likened competence to an ,,idealized" speaker-hears who
does not display such performance variables as memory
limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, errors and
hesitation phenomena, such ad as repeat, false starts, pauses,
omissions, and additions.
Chomsky's point was that a theory of language had to be a theory
of competence.
Sociolinguistics: endeavors to find systematic relationships
between social groupings and context.
Corpus linguistics: is the study of language as expressed in simple
or real world.
Applied Linguistics: is not simply a matter of matching up
findings about language with pre-existing problems but of using
findings to explore how the perception of problems might be
Applied Linguistics is a quest for common ground. It established a
reciprocal relationship between experience and expertise, between
professional concerns with language problems and linguistics.


Type of Edition
File size
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Institution / College
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Publication date
2015 (December)
Ferdinand de Saussure Guidebook Lecture notes Applied linguistics Language Translation Teaching Method

Title: Lecture Notes on Applied Linguistics
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