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Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching in the Philippines: Theory and Implications

Andrew Gonzalez, F. S. C.

Date of publication:

December 2003 and June 2004

We need to go beyond the simplistic notion current in Philippine language circles that applied linguistics is synonymous or co-terminous with language education. Rather, there are areas of overlap between applied linguistics and language education, since both subject areas go beyond the boundaries of each other. Applied linguistics goes beyond the description of the sound system, lexicon, syntax and discourse of a human signaling system, combining sounds and meanings to the uses of these systems or structures not only for communicating among human beings in a community but likewise for the creation of contemplatable designs of art (heard or read) that serve the needs of beauty realized as linguistic art; one must likewise consider the use of linguistic structures to achieve different forms of communication (to explain, to describe, to tell a story, to persuade, to amuse). The learning of language and the facilitation of this learning is a social and psychological process in the human individual's brain. For other human beings to learn human linguistic codes or what is known as language teaching calls for the convergence of both scientific knowledge (of language, of the human mind, of social interaction, of written codes) and art (the art of class management and class presentation and strategy for language learning). Still, other extensions of use of the signaling system have to do with the build-up of long texts for the creation of scientific community and the recording of the knowledge generated in publications, and more recently, electronic and digital media. The practice or teaching praxis in different settings under different conditions and according to a predetermined and planned distribution of learning/teaching units is what is known as language education, which is a component of the more comprehensive activity of ''paideia" or the handing down of knowledge and training and skills to the next generation. Practical implications based on this clarification of theory and practice and using the Philippine context will constitute the more useful section of the address.

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