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Applied linguistics?

What is applied linguistics has been, first and foremost, a question on the mind of applied linguists themselves. The opening article by Karlfried Knapp, professor of applied linguistics from Germany, considers the status and essence of the discipline from several aspects, emphasising that to-day the discipline covers many linguistic problems and aspects, such as multilingualism, lexicography, corpus linguistics, translation, language technology, language policy, and professional communication. Krista Kerge looks for the boundary between applied linguistics and the rest, asking whether drawing such a boundary is really necessary. Her emphasis lies on the mediating role of applied linguistics between theory and practice. The rest of the articles address different tendencies of applied linguistics, notably, lexicography, mother tongue teaching, speech technology, multilingualism, and conversation analysis. The dominant subject matter of the present volume happens to be speech technology, addressed by three articles: Hille Pajupuu describes the creation process of the Emotional Speech Corpus, while Einar and Lya Meister tell us how the Foreign Accent Corpus came about. Ene Vainik’s contribution has also to do with emotions, but her analysis applies to their manifestation in text, to be more exact, the emotional connotation of text words. Margit Langemets analyses the relations between lexicography and linguistics, focusing on the former as, first and foremost, an applied discipline with special requirements to the presentation of information in the dictionary, depending on user needs. Martin Ehala provokes teachers of the mother tongue by asking how necessary grammar really is. From the position of an applied linguist, Ehala analyses the possibilities of wording and/or teaching the linguistic norm understandably for an ordinary user, in other words, how to teach the linguistic standard without using the rules formulated in the metalanguage of traditional grammar. Multilingualism is discussed by Anna Verschik, who speaks of language contacts, the use of individual language resources by plurilingual users, etc. Verschik also speculates on the sustainability of contact-based changes and on the role of translation loans in language change, as well as on the boundary of synchrony and diachrony. Conversation analysis is represented by Tiit Hennoste, who discusses the linguistic tools used in asking. Hennoste’s approach (originating from the US sociologist and conversation analyst John Heritage) is based on the apprehension that conversation analysis should treat its object as a social action.