Monday, 5 December 2016


Linguistics:  The word Linguistics has been derived from LatinLingua” (tongue) and “Istics” knowledge or science.  Therefore, linguistic is the scientific study of language.

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It is a 'foundation' discipline in the sense that it bridges the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities. Linguistics is an exciting field, not only because of its own achievements, but also because of its contributions to other fields. For example, linguistic anthropology is one of the four subdisciplines of anthropology, and it has provided models of rigour in cultural anthropology.

Linguistics also has links with cognitive science, computer science, education (through reading, child language acquisition, and classroom interaction), geography (through linguistic geography and dialectology), history (through historical linguistics), literature (through stylistics, poetics, and critical theory), neurology (through neurolinguistics, the study of how language functions in the brain), philosophy (through the philosophy of natural language, semantics, and logic), psychology (through psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and clinical applications), sociology (through sociolinguistics and the sociology of language), speech therapy, and zoology (through animal communication and the evolution of language).

So Linguistics is the science which strikes the origin, organization nature and development of language descriptively historically, comparatively and explicatory and formulates the general rules related to language.

Applied Linguistics

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 (SLA).

Applied linguistics is the application of linguistic methods and findings to a number of areas. It is especially associated with language teaching methodology and second-language acquisition, but also involves language and the law, language and classroom education, child development, language and reading, speech therapy, language and public policy, translation, advertising, and the like.

Application of linguistics:

A model of applied linguistics; the application of linguistic language teaching is an indirect tone. It is not a single stage operation. This is why many teachers when first introduced to linguistic see no relevance in it for their work and conversely why linguistics can have applications wherever language itself becomes matter of practical concern.

Strictly speaking then the domain of applied linguistic is not a single field or sub field but can rage from the reassert on multi-lingualism the teaching and learning of foreign languages to studies of neuro-linguistic disorders like aphasia and of various speech and hearing defects. It includes work in the areas language planning like the efforts to devise writing system for language s in the post colonial world and the efforts to standardized terminologies for various technical domains or to revitalize endangered language.

Examples of the applications of linguistic can be multiplied indefinitely.

The techniques of discourse analysis have been applied to the problems of avoiding air accidents due to miscommunication and to the problems of communication between members of different ethnic groups. And linguists are increasingly called on in legal proceedings that turn on questions of precise interpretation a development that has given rise to anew field of study of language and law by bilingualism poly-lingualism, etc.

Anthropologists can study a community better if they know the language of the community.

Mathematicians are interested in the formal properties of natural language and now meaning is mapped into sound. In devising computer languages such information proves valuable.

Teachers of composition can easily diagnose the problems of their students and suggest quick and effective remedies to improve their performance.

Engineers who know the properties of speech can devise better telephone s that can operate when you dictate rather than dial the number of subscriber. Instead of touch type write we can have dictation typewriter and machine can do the translation work done by humans. we can have better radios and better television receivers . it is believed that each man’s voice print in unique as his thumb impression. It may be easier for officers of the laws to apprehend criminals and bring them before the bar of justice with the help of tapes of recorded conversation.

Philosophers can make a fresh look at some of the unresolved controversies in their field with the insights gained by their acquaintance with linguistic for example between the rationalist point of view and the empiricists point of view about he nature of learning. They can also study the structure of meaning and the validity of forming linguistic universals.

Sociologists can take a look at the interaction of social groups the role-played by languages and dialects in-group dynamics the problems created.

Computational linguistics: Many areas of applied linguistics today involved the explicit use of computers speech synthesis and speech recognition use phonetic and phonemic knowledge to provide voided interfaces to provide voice interfaces to computers. Applications of computational linguistic in machine translation, computer assisted translation and natural language processing are extremely fruitful areas of applied linguistics, which have come to the fore front in recent years with increasing computing power. Their influence had a great effect on theories of syntax and semantic is as modeling syntactic and romantic theories on computers constrains and theories to compatible operations and provides a more rigorous mathematic basis.

The application of linguistics to the treatment of Aphasia in Clinical Aphasiology is also an important field of applied linguistics.

Thus the study of linguistics quenches linguistic thirsty gives the knowledge of the preparation and mysteries of language illuminates ancient and prehistoric culture helps in improving and reforming spelling vocabulary pronunciation, all aid the specialists in his field

Above all the study of language satisfies our intellectual urge and we derives satisfaction and pleasure when we come to know about the mysteries of language. Finally the rhetorical question why should any one want to study the work of Shakespeare, Picasso and so on? The answer is for its own sake and so with language study.


“A language is a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.” (Noam Chomsky)

“Languages are the principal systems of communication used by particular groups of human beings within the particular society (linguistic community of which they are members).”  (John Lyons)

Language is both linguistic and commutative competency:

A language is an abstract set of psychological principles and sociological consideration that constitute a person’s competence as a speaker in a given situation these psychological principles make available to him an unlimited number of sentences he can draw upon in concrete situations and provide him with the stability to understand and create entirely new sensitive. Hence language is no just a verbal behavior it is system of rules established or relations between meanings and sounds sequences. It is a set of principle that a speaker masters it is not anything a speaker does. In brief a language is a code, which is different from the act of encoding it, is a speakers linguistic competence rather than his linguistic performance.  But mere linguistic or communicative competence.

In language teaching we ue such terms as second language foreign language “bilingualism”, language learning and language acquisitions.

Second language:

The term second language is used to describe any language whose acquisition starts after early childhood (including what may be the third or subsequent language learned). The language to be learned is often referred to as the "target language" or "L2".

We start from the common sense distinction between mother tongue or native langue and second language or foreign language. At a more technical level we also find for the first two the terms primary language and L1 and for the second two secondary langue and L2 We can tabulate the two sets of terms as follows:

L1                                                       L2

            First language                               Second language

Native language                               Non-native language

Mother language                              Foreign language

Primary language                             Secondary language

Stronger language                            Weaker language

These two sets of terms like such words as lift and right, I/we and you or at home and abroad – are always relative to person or a group of persons. They indicate subjective relationship between a language and an individual or group. We can never assign any particular language for example French, English, Arabic or Japanese in any absolute way to one of the other set of terms.

There is third set of terms which describes language objectively i.e. without reference to the relationship of individuals to that language.

This set refers to t the geographical distribution social function political status origin type or importance of the languages so on; for example:

Language of wider communication

Standard langue

\Regional language

National language

Official language

Modern langue

Classical language.

Some terms fall into more than one category. For example foreign language can be subjectively a language, which is not L1, or objectively a language, which has no legal status within the national boundaries. There is simply a semantic confusion between the first two sets of terms and the third in the following instance in which a certain French Canadian said.

Consequently it would be best to reserve the term native language for the language of early childhood acquisition and primary language for the language of dominant or preferred us when this distinction has to be made with the terms first language or L1 to cover both uses allowing the context to make clear the distinction.

The concept of L2 (non-native language second language, foreign language) implies the prior availability to the individual of an L1 in other words some form of bilingualism. Again the use of the L2 set of whether the learning is formalized in any way for example through a language course in school (L1) through private study (L2) or is left informal (L3) in all three cases the language is learnt as second language or foreign language that is to say it implies that French (L1) Singhalese (L2) or English (L3) are learnt by these individual after they have already acquired an L1.

Secondly the L2 terms may indicate a lower level of proficiency in the language in comparison with the primary language. The language is the individual’s weaker or secondary langue. It feels less familiar new or strange.

The distinction between L1 and L2:

Indistinguishing the two sets of terms under L1 and L2 we have adopted the commonsense point of view that this distinction can in practice easily and regularly be made. In many instances especially in European counties it is indeed often white self evident.

For example many parts of Great Britain, France or Germany have homogeneously English speaking French speaking or German speaking populations  restively for whole English French and German are native languages and languages of dominant and preferred use; in short  the first langue in both senses can clearly be identified. If in their different school systems English French or German are language as second or foreign languages, the relative position of the languages is not a simple. The languages of they home neighborhood school, region or nation may form intricate patterns of bilingualism and multilingualism. The language experiences of an individual these situations make the boundaries between L1 and L2 presents no problem. But in many language situations the relative position of the languages is not a simple. The languages of the home neighborhood, school region or nation may form intricate patterns of bilingualism and multilingualism. The language experiences of an individual in these situation make the boundaries between L1 and L2 learning far less definite. For example many European countries have accepted migrant workers fro aboard. In Germany Gastarbeiter (migrant workers) have come from Spain Italy or Turkey. For their children German may be second language. In Great Britain lager numbers of immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent use English as second language.

In a country of immigration like Canada teacher or English or French as L1 many find in his class pupils for whom English or French is an L2. On the other hand a teacher of German as L2 may find in his German L2 class children whose parents are German speaking immigrants and who through language experience in the home have native like yet inadequate command of German. In many countries of Africa and Asia local dialects or languages are interwoven with regional languages and one or two languages of wider communication such as English French Swahili or Hindi. In these situations the L1/L2 distinction is by no means easy to.

In contracting second and foreign language there is today consensus that a necessary distinctions to be made between anon native language learnt and used within one country to which the term second language has been applied and a non-native language learnt and used with reference to a speech community outside national or territorial a boundaries to which the term foreign language is commonly given.  A second language usually has official status or a recognized function within a country which a foreign language has not.

Language Acquisition is the process by which the language capability develops in a human.

Second language acquisition:

Second language acquisition, or SLA, is the process by which people learn languages in addition to their native language(s). The term "language acquisition" became commonly used after Stephen Krashen contrasted it with formal and non-constructive "learning."

Similarities and differences between L2 and L1 Acquisition

·        SpeedAcquiring a second language can be a lifelong learning process for some; despite their best efforts, most learners will never become fully native-like in the second language. Children, however, by around the age of 5, have more or less mastered their first language, with the exception of vocabulary and a few grammatical structures.

·        Stages:  Acquiring a second language occurs in systematic stages. Much evidence has been gathered to show that basic sounds, vocabulary, negating phrases, forming questions, using relative clauses, and so on are developed. This development is independent from input (we do not hear nor read language in this order), independent from learning situation (in the classroom or on the street), and is generally applicable across a spectrum of learners (from different language backgrounds). This is similar to the learning stages that babies go through when acquiring the first language: babbling (bababa), vocabulary (milk then later milk drink), negation (no play), question forming (where she go), and so on.

·       Correction:  Error correction does not seem to have a direct influence on learning an L2. Instruction may affect the rate of learning, but the stages remain the same. Adolescents and adults who know the rule are faster than those who do not. In the first language, children do not respond to systematic correction. Furthermore, children who have limited input still acquire the first language.

·       Depth of knowledge:  Learners in the first or second language have knowledge that goes beyond the input they received, in other words, the whole is greater than the parts. Learners of a language are able to construct correct utterances (e.g. phrases, sentences, and questions) that they have never seen or heard before.

·       Success:  Success in language learning can be measured in two ways: likelihood and quality. First language learners will be successful in both measurements.

It is inevitable that all first language learners will learn a first language and with few exceptions, they will be fully successful. For second language learners, success is not guaranteed.

Finally, as noted elsewhere, L2 learners rarely achieve complete native-like control of the second language

Second language acquisition and foreign language acquisition:

According to the traditional definition, second language acquisition typically takes place in a setting in which the language to be learned is the language spoken in thelocal community. Therefore, a Persian speaker learning English in England is generally defined as a second language learner. In some definitions of second language acquisition, the acquisition needs also to take place in a non-instructed setting.

Foreign language acquisition takes place in a setting in which the language to be learned is not the language spoken in the local community. In most cases, foreign language acquisition takes place in a setting with formal language instruction.

Acquisition versus learning:

A particularly tricky but also controversial distinction is the one between acquisition and learning.  Krashen and Terrell (1983) defined ‘acquisition’ as the product of a ‘subconscious’ process, very similar to the one children use in learning their first language, and learning as the product of formal teaching, which results in ‘conscious’ knowledge about the language, but the distinction can not be as simple as that.

Schmidt (1990) has pointed out that the term ‘subconscious’ may be misleading, and that is not use in a technical sense here as in conscious research, where it would imply totally ‘without awareness’, an unlikely proposition.

Second language teaching and cross cultural linguistics:

In the field of second language pedagogy new theatrical developments and changing circumstances in which language teaching takes place have led to new foci of research and directions of practice. Illustrative of these developments (but by no means an exhaustive overview of them) are reconsiderations of the place of grammar and lexicon respectively in the language teaching curriculum and new applications of the communicative an social uses of language.

Drawing on theory and research in psychology applied linguistic have revisited the explicit teaching of grammar in second language classrooms by investigating the facilitative role that noticing and conscious awareness play in enabling a learners to acquire grammatical forms a second language (Schmidt 1990).This research known as Focus on form (or FonF for short) has been applied to questions of how and when grammatical instruction can be implemented for most effective learning) e.g. doughty and Williams 1998.

A different approach initially associated with work in Great Britain places lexicon at the center of second language learning and has explored ways and means of applying research to language teaching e.g. McCarthy 1084. New technology has made possible the collection and analysis of large corpora of written a spoken langue. Corpus based applied linguistics uses the corpora as resources of actual language use from which to write dictionaries for nonnative speakers to revise under standing and teaching of English grammar to design second languages to teaching curricula to write materials and to suggest teaching techniques (Biber et al 1998, Lewis 1993).

The emphasis in applied linguistics on language in context has converged wit the social fact of large numbers of nonnative speakers of English as students in north American schools and universities as a result an important trend in recent yeas n the USA and Canada is content based instruction in which language lessons derive from academic course content (Briton et al 1989 Snow 1998).

Accurate description of language use with the ultimate goal of teaching has motivated research in cross cultural discourse and pragmatics.

Concentration on spoken language combined with speech act theory among others has engendered numerous research project sin applied linguistic investigation.


Second-language learners may have learned additional languages, may have started learning their second language at different ages, may be more or less motivated, may be more or less intelligent, and may have more or less aptitude.

Factors affecting language acquisition:


According to Critical period hypothesis (Lenneberg, 1967), it is not possible to acquire a native-like level of proficiency when learning the second language starts after a critical period, normally associated with puberty. This position is most strongly associated with acquiring the phonological system of a second language. Scovel (1988) for instance argues that late starters may be able to learn the syntax and the vocabulary of a second language, but that attaining a native-like pronunciation is impossible for them.


The role of motivation in SLA has been the subject of extensive scholarship, closely influenced by work in motivational psychology.  There are many different kinds of motivation; these are often divided into types such as integrative or instrumental, intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation refers to the desire to do something for an internal reward. Most studies have shown it to be substantially more effective in long-term language learning than extrinsic motivation, for an external reward such as high grades or praise. Integrative and instrumental orientations refer to the degree that a language is learned "for its own sake" (integratively) or for instrumental purposes. Studies have not consistently shown either form of motivation to be more effective than the other, and the role of each is probably conditioned by various personality and cultural factors.

Some research has shown that motivation correlates strongly with proficiency, indicating both that successful learners are motivated and that success improves motivation. Thus motivation is not fixed, but is strongly affected by feedback from the environment.

Aptitude and Intelligence:

Regardless of all other factors like age and motivation, some people happen to be better at learning a second language than others. A person’s inherent capability of second-language learning is labelled language aptitude. Aptitude can be seen as a characteristic that is similar to intelligence, which can not be altered through training. As different skills are involved in language learning, aptitude needs to include several factors. Aptitude is usually described asaa combination of four factors:

§  The ability to identify and remember sounds of the foreign language;

§  The ability to recognise how words function grammatically in sentences;

§  The ability to induce grammatical rules from language examples; and

§  The ability to recognise and remember words and phrases.


Although some continue to propose that a low level of anxiety may be helpful, studies have almost unanimously shown that anxiety damages students' prospects for successful learning. Anxiety is often related to a sense of threat to the learner's ego in the learning situation, for example if a learner fears being ridiculed for a mistake.

Socio-cultural factors:

An important research tradition in SLA has investigated language learning as a form of language socialization. From this perspective, the acquisition of linguistic features is a process of taking on the habits and forms of a target culture. In other words, to acquire a language is to acquire a culture.

This research, informed by the work of social psychologists, has brought forward a number of important factors in language learning. In particular, it has pointed out the importance of attitudes toward the target language and its speakers. Students with negative attitudes toward the target language community, as well as students with negative attitudes toward their own first-language community, face particular difficulties in acquiring that language.

Several studies have shown that older learners learn a second language faster than younger learners do, given the same amount of time, which may be due to their more fully developed cognitive skills.  Younger learners have a greater chance of attaining native-like proficiency in the L2, older learners may show faster progress at the beginning, but are probably surpassed by the young ones in the end, These observations have been made in all domains, but the phonology of a second language is beyond doubt the most difficult area to master for late starters. It has proven to be very difficult to point out the exect age at which the critical period ends and to explain what causes a possible critical period for language acquisition. So overall, the evidence for the existence of a critical period is not convincing.

- Prepared by Samia S. Khan Adnan



o   Introducing Applied LinguisticsS.P. Corder

o   Language and Linguistics - John Lyons

o   Fundamental Concepts of Language TeachingH.H. Stern

o   An approach to the Study of LinguisticsNew Kitab Mahal

o   Second Language Acquisition: An advanced resource bookKees de Boot, Wander Lowie and Marjolijn Verspoor


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