Các phân ngành của Ngôn Ngữ Học Ứng Dụng gồm có Ngôn ngữ học tâm lý, Ngôn ngữ học xã hội, Phân Tích Ngôn Từ, Ngôn Ngữ Học Ứng Dụng
Phê Bình, Quá Trình Lĩnh Hội Ngôn Ngữ Thứ Hai, Đa Văn Hoá Học, cũng như những lĩnh vực phát triển tài liệu ngôn ngữ và đào tạo giáo viên.
Certain branches of Applied Linguistics are criticised by traditionalists for being overtly political in their research of the connection between society, language and political influence. Conversely researchers in these areas argue that only through such analysis can the interactional nature of discourse and its influences on societies and cultures be fully understood.
The field of applied linguistics first concerned itself with second language acquisition, in particular errors and contrastive analysis, in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, with the failure of contrastive analysis as a theory to predict errors, applied linguists began to adopt Noam Chomsky's theory of universal grammar to explain second language (L2) learning phenomena. In the 1990s, more and more researchers began to employ research methods from cognitive psychology.
The first university department and postgraduate course in Applied Linguistics was established at the University of Edinburgh in 1958. The first international conference was held in 1964, and saw the foundation of the discipline’s international association l’Association Internationale de la Linguistique Appliquée (AILA). The British Association for the discipline (BAAL) was founded in 1965 and the American Association (AAAL) ten years later. The main journal Applied Linguistics was launched in 1980. Major journals include Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, The Journal of Applied Linguistics, Second Language Research, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Modern Language Review, Language Learning, AILA Journal, and the TESOL Quarterly.