Linguistics and their realationship to Teaching

Topics: Linguistics, Noam Chomsky, Language acquisition Pages: 8 (2450 words) Published: October 5, 2013

The Relationship Between Linguistics and Language Teaching.
Fiona Le Maitre
Thongsook College
May 2013

This paper is an attempt to analyze the relationship between linguistics and language teaching. Linguistics is a science and teaching while technical is also an art yet they are closely related to each other in the case of language teaching. The foreign language teachers need to include 'selection', 'grading' and 'presentation' as their main steps. Linguistics plays an important role in the whole process of teaching by helping to facilitate a teacher's understanding of the workings and systems of the language they teach. Applied Linguistics is really about the melding of these 2 actions.

The Relationship between Linguistics and Language Teaching.
Linguistics is defined as the scientific study of language. Linguistics is then divided into several branches which study different accepts of its use. Descriptive linguistics, historical and comparative linguistics, which it is based on methodology. Synchronic and Diachronic linguistics, which it is based on the aspect of changes over time. Phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, which is based on a language as a system. Sociolinguistics this is related to or combined with the disciplines of linguistics and sociology. Its interest is in the relationship between language and society. It works to explains why people Use different speech in different social contexts. It’s area of study is the social functions of language to convey social meaning. The social relationships in a community, and the way people signal aspects of their social identity through their language (Jenet Holmes, 2001). Sociolinguistics also is concerned with the interaction of language and settings. (Carol M. Eastman, 1975; 113). The other expert defines it as the study that is concerned with investigating the relationship between language and society with the goal of a better understanding of the structure of language and of how languages function in communication ( Ronald Wardhaugh, 1986 : 12)

Psycholinguistics relates to the combined disciplines of psychology and linguistics. Psychology is defined as the systematic study of human experience and behavior or as the science that studies the behavior of men and other animals. Knight and Hilgert in Abu Ahmadi,(1992). It covers language development. (Lim Kiat Boey). The other definition of psycholinguistics is that it is the study of human language-to-language comprehension, language production, and language acquisition (E.M.Hatch)

The research done on the relationship between linguistic theory and language teaching can be traced back to the late 19th century. Its relationship has been discussed and debated for many years and researched extensively. Since this time different research proposed by different scholars has been disputable and found to be largely inconclusive. In the 1960s it was decided that there needed to be a reassessment. The conclusion that was formed went in two two main directions of thought with differing points of view. One viewpoint was that linguistics is not as relevant as it was first thought to be, and its importance was overrated. Such linguists as Lamendella (1969) and Johnson (1967) expressed their disagreement to regard linguistics as the basis of a strategy of learning. Lamendella (1969) thought that it was a mistake to look to transformational grammar or any other theory of linguistic description to provide the theoretical basis for second language pedagogy. What is needed in the field of language teaching are not applied linguists but rather applied psychologists.

The other point of view was to recognize that the general contribution of linguistics was important. This came though with a proviso that teaching language was not to be bound to only follow one theory alone. The idea being that different linguistic theories can offer different...

References: Chastain, K. (1976). Developing Second-Language Skills: Theory to Practice. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Diller, K.C. (1970). ‘Linguistic theories of language acquisition’ in Hester 1970:1-32.
Johnson, M. (1967). Definitions and models in curriculum theory. Educational Theory, 17:127-40.
Lamendella, J.T. (1969). On the irrelevance of transformational grammar to second language pedagogy. Language Learning, 19:255-70.
Levenson, E.A. (1979). Second language lexical acquisition: issues and problems. Interlanguage Studies Bulletin, 4:147-60.
Oller, J.W. (1970). Transformational theory and pragmatics. Modern Language Journal, 54:504-507.
Rivers, W.M. (1981). Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Second edition. Chicago and London: University of Chicago
Widdowson, H.G.. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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