References Citations Metrics Reprints & Permissions PDF Abstract Metalanguage is a term that is increasingly to be found in the applied linguistic/ language awareness literature. However, not all writers use it in the same way; some seem to be equating it with metalinguistic terminology. Tracing the term from its philosophical roots, this paper accepts a broader definition of metalanguage as ‘language about language’(where terminology is viewed as the lexis); at the same time it distinguishes it from metadiscourse, with which it is sometimes conflated. The paper discusses how metalanguage is related to language awareness and how the above interpretation can be, and is being, applied in different fields, largely as a tool to illuminate various applied linguistic phenomena. It also echoes Roman Jakobson’s call from almost half a century ago for more research into the ‘metalingual’ function of language.