Although the speech and language sciences have been long used to describe and analyze communication impairments, the term is widespread since the publication of Crystals book in 1981. He defined clinical linguistics as the application of linguistic science to study communication disabilities in clinical situations (
1). Most of the researchers have referenced to Chrystal’s definition regarding clinical linguistics in their works and have considered it as the basis of their work. However, Cummings believed that clinical linguistics is an expression rather than a field of study ( 2). Ahadi described clinical linguistics as an application of linguistic theories, methods, and findings to describe, evaluate and treat communication disabilities, also application of clinical data to accept or reject linguistic theories, methods and findings ( 3).
Clinical linguistics mainly aims to classify patients’ linguistic behaviors in the field of differential diagnosis. Clinical linguistics has also evolved in devising a good assessment of abnormal linguistic behavior. The ultimate goal of clinical linguistics is to formulate hypotheses to treat abnormal language behaviors. These areas identify the scope of clinical linguistics. Crystal believed that “the chief aim of clinical linguistics is to provide the clinician with increasing levels of insight and confidence in arriving at linguistic decisions” (
4). The mentioned areas of clinical linguistic activities only cover one aspect of the definition (using linguistics in disorders); the other aspect of the studies is using clinical data to accept or reject linguistic hypotheses. For example, one of the reasons to study specific language impairment (SLI) in children is to gain insight in language organization and development ( 5). As such, a general hypothesis linking these two important areas is proposed by Feodor the modularity hypothesis ( 6). Studies on specific language impairment show that an impairment which is limited to the language alone provides support for a modularity hypothesis corresponding to big modularity. As for the small modularity, the question arises as what components a language consists of. Grammar and pragmatics are distinct components and if so, how they are. In this regard, grammatical and pragmatic data of children with specific language impairments are studied. Based on this hypothesis in spite of impairment in their grammar, these children are not impaired in their pragmatic language skills ( 7). Thus, the specific language impairment and other disorders such as autism, Williams syndrome and the like can be very helpful to study linguistic hypothesis. For example, Ahadi et al. in addition to describing morphosyntactic and lexical ability in SLI children, used this description to provide modularity hypothesis ( 8- 11).
In Iran, no research has directly studied the relationship between these two fields of speech therapy and linguistics and the extent of their effects on the clinical linguistics area. Only the study by Kaveh (
12) reported that studies on pathology were very limited in linguistics. However, some studies are conducted in each of these areas as students’ theses; for example, Javandel-Somesarai introduced about 3000 theses (with their abstracts) in the linguistics field from six universities. One year later, this collection was published in the national library of Iran ( 13). Kaveh carried out a study entitled “the descriptive bibliography of modern linguistics in Iran” in his MA thesis. In his thesis, he presented a descriptive list of the linguistic books and articles in alphabetical order based on the author’s name and the title of the work in Farsi. The results of his study showed that the listed activities in theoretical linguistics with 337 works are almost twice the number of the works in applied linguistics ( 12). Based on the number of works, grammatical issues, sociolinguistics, and dialectologies are ranked from the first to the third, respectively. Furthermore, Persian orthographic branches, glossaries and dictionaries, translations, computer linguistics, and speech pathology had the least contributions.
14) presented 2530 theses from 30 universities in abstracts and introductions. Among them, 1080 abstracts were in the field of general linguistics and the rest were about Farsi literature, teaching Farsi language to non-native speakers. He also mentioned some related fields such as speech therapy, but not all of them. At the end of his collection, he presented a subject index, but there was no term such as disorder to find the number of linguistic studies about disorders. Just one index was used for language pathology in which one thesis was mentioned. For different linguistic domains such as syntactic (381), semantic (99), phonetic/phonological (175), morphological (221), pragmatic (25) and lexicon studies (235), there was a specific index through which the number of studies could be determined ( 12).
In 2000, abstracts of speech therapy theses were collected and organized in rehabilitation universities and faculties. Of course, they were classified based on the subjects and their universities and the educational level rather than their linguistic domains (
Crystal studied 360 articles to investigate the type and trend of studies in the field of clinical linguistics which were published in the journals of clinical linguistics and phonology in 15 years. The results of his study showed that phonology and phonemics comprised the bulk of the research with 138 and 217 articles, respectively and after them, grammar, discourse, pragmatics, semantics, and sociolinguistics comprised 34, 30, 9, 9, and 3 articles, respectively. Phonology and phonetics included 67% of the research. A significant number of studies were related to case reports which described patients’ language problems. In the next step, he classified articles based on disorders. His study showed that the maximum amount of research was related to aphasia, apraxia, dysarthria, hearing loss, stuttering and cleft palate (
Marrero and Pineda investigated the articles sent to the second international conference of clinical linguistics held in 2003. First, he studied articles based on researcher’s country and showed that 59% of them had been submitted from out of Spain (28% were from Europe, 20% from America and 8% from Asia). A total of 84 articles were sent to this conference from which 63% were accepted. In addition to English which was the language of the majority of studies, more than half of the studies were related to the Romanian (Spanish, Italian and Portuguese). The maximum amount of research in the field of linguistics was related to phonology and phonetics and the minimum was related to semantics and sociology (