Original version appeared in: Educational linguistics. In Mark Aronoff & Janie-Rees-Miller, Eds., Handbook of Linguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2001, pp. 647-663. This revised version is due to appear in a new edition of the Handbook,
Educational linguistics, as a branch of applied linguistics, varies based on the theory of language and language acquisition that one holds. One crucial area where theories of language differ is in how they see the relationship between language structure and language function. Another area where they differ is how they view the relationship of areas like discourse and pragmatics to the more formal parts of linguistic theory such as the theory of syntax and logical form, and, indeed, whether they have a developed theory of discourse and pragmatics or not. And yet another crucial area where they differ is in the importance and role they assign to a biological basis for language acquisition.