The Interrelations between Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

  • Stig Eliasson
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


“Concern about the definition of applied linguistics has become a remarkable feature of professional gatherings,” observes a contributor to Kaplan’s collection On the Scope of Applied Linguistics (Palmer 1980:21).1 This preoccupation with definition is something applied linguistics shares with many new branches of scientific inquiry, both within and outside linguistics. To cite just one other example, a lively debate continues to flourish on how to delimit and characterize the field of pragmatics (e.g., Levinson 1983:5–35). Applied linguistics being on one account merely three decades old (Corder 1973:11) and yet already widely diversified, it is no wonder if its practitioners should feel compelled to try to determine its true identity. Part of the problem of defining applied linguistics is to explain how it relates to linguistic theory, but, more generally, there is a need to ascertain how it ties in with and differs from all non-applied pursuits in the study of language. Any serious attempt at understanding what applied linguistics is will thus force us to scrutinize the latent organizational principles that underlie linguistic science as a whole.


Subject Matter Matrix Model Target Language Linguistic Theory Theory Description 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stig Eliasson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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