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Subject: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?
Question: Are ESL instructors with masters in linguistics considered linguists, or is the title of linguist reserved only for those holding doctorate degrees in linguistics? Who can legitimately be referred to as a linguist?
Reply: Hi, I'm not entirely in agreement with Elizabeth on this one...Although the distinction between (Theoretical) Linguistics and Applied Linguistics is quite well established, what sub- disciplines are understood to belong to one or the other is not. The American Applied Linguistics Association recognizes quite a few more sub-disciplines that merely Second Language Teaching. In fact, if the topic of the papers read at their annual convention and those published in various 'Applied Linguistics' journal, the main sub-discipline of Applied Linguistics would be Second Language Acquisition, which is interested on how second languages are LEARNED, not TAUGHT. Second Language Teaching, in fact, is a quite separate discipline and has its own professional and academic organizations (such as TESOL) and academic journals. Other national applied linguistics association recognize a wealth of other so-called 'applied' sub-disciplines, including sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, sociology of language, language literacy, language preservation, language documentation, ethnolinguistics, text mining, language planning, applied phonetics(including voice recognition), etc. To my mind, 'linguistics' - whether applied or theoretical (note that the very distinction is moot since there can be no 'science' at all without theorization of some kind!) has as its main object LANGUAGE (in some form or another). If the main focus of a given discipline is NOT language, then that discipline should not be considered as part of 'linguistics' (applied or not!). Thus if the main goal of Second (or Foreign) language teaching is on TEACHING, not on LANGUAGE' then Second Language Teaching should not be considered as part of 'linguistics' or even of 'applied linguistics'. As to the question of degress (MA or PdD)...that's merely a question of education/training. An MA often does not require original research and certainly does not require a 'doctoral' thesis, evaluated not only by departmental professors (who themselves have PhDs)but by external evaluators. The step between an MA and a PhD is quite important. But the difference between the two certainly does not involve the difference between what can be considered 'linguistics' and what can be considered 'applied linguistics'! Hope this helps to clear things up. RAP
Reply From: Robert A Papen      click here to access email
Date: 05-Dec-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (05-Dec-2013)
  2. Re: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?    Susan D Fischer     (05-Dec-2013)
  3. Re: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (07-Dec-2013)
  4. Re: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (05-Dec-2013)
  5. Re: Linguist = doctorate in linguistics?    Steven Schaufele     (05-Dec-2013)

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