The key difference between linguistics and applied linguistics is that linguistics is the scientific study of the structure and development of language in general or of particular languages whereas applied linguistics is the branch of linguistics focusing on the practical applications of language studies.

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Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure. It has many branches such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, dialectology, comparative linguistics, and structural linguistics. Applied linguistics is also a branch of linguistics, which study language as it affects real-life situations.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference2. What is Linguistics3. What is Applied Linguistics4. Side by Side Comparison – Linguistics vs Applied Linguistics in Tabular Form5. Summary

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves language form, language meaning, and language in context. Basically, it studies how language is formed, how it functions and how people use it. Linguistics also explores various language-related phenomena such as language variation, language acquisition, language change over time and, language storage and process in the human brain. Although some people assume that linguistics is only about the study of a particular language, this is not so. Linguistics deal with the study of particular languages, as well as the search for common properties observable in all languages or large groups of languages.

There are various subareas in linguistics as follows:


Figure 01: Major Subareas of Linguistics


There are also various subfields in linguistics. Sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, historical linguistics, and neurolinguistics are some of these fields. Sociolinguistics is the study of society and language whereas historical linguistics is the study of the change of language over time. Neurolinguistics, on the other hand, is the study of the structures in the human brain that underlie grammar and communication

What is Applied Linguistics?

Applied linguistics is a branch of linguistics that focuses on practical applications of language studies. In other words, it involves the practical application of linguistics-related concepts. Moreover, this is a field of study that identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related problems. Thus, it helps linguists to gain insight into practical problems such as what are the best methods to teach languages or what are the existing issues in language policy formulation.

Applied linguistics covers a vast number of areas such as bilingualism, multilingualism, discourse analysis, language pedagogy, language acquisition, language planning and policy, and translation. Furthermore, applied linguistics is related to various other fields such as education, communication, sociology, and anthropology.


What is the Difference Between Linguistics and Applied Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of the structure and development of language in general or of particular languages. In contrast, applied linguistics is the branch of linguistics focusing on the practical applications of language studies. So, this is the key difference between linguistics and applied linguistics. Importantly, while some branches of linguistics such as historical linguistics and comparative linguistics are more concerned with theoretical aspects of language, applied linguistics is concerned with the practical application of linguistics.

Moreover, linguistics basically focuses on the scientific study of language and its structure while applied linguistics can identify, explore, and offer solutions to language-related problems. Therefore, we can consider this as the difference between linguistics and applied linguistics in terms of their function.

Summary – Linguistics vs Applied Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, its structure, and development and involves subareas such as phonology, semantics, morphology, and pragmatics. It also includes various branches, and applied linguistics is one such branch. The key difference between linguistics and applied linguistics is that former is the scientific study of the structure and development of language in general or of particular languages while latter is the branch of linguistics focusing on the practical applications of language studies.

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Reference:

1. “Applied Linguistics.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Feb. 2019, Available here.2. “Linguistics.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Apr. 2019, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Major levels of linguistic structure” By File:Major levels of linguistic structure.jpg: James J. Thomas and Kristin A. Cook (Ed.)derivative work McSush – File:Major levels of linguistic structure.jpgThomas, James J. & Cook, Kristin A., ed. (2005) Illuminating the Path: The Research and Development Agenda for Visual Analytics, National Visualization and Analytics Center, p. 110 ISBN: 0-7695-2323-4 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia2. “Appliedlinguistics8” By Benjamin Stewart – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia