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Review of  Directions in Applied Linguistics


Reviewer: Yasemin Kirkgoz
Book Title: Directions in Applied Linguistics
Book Author: Paul Bruthiaux Dwight Atkinson William G. Eggington William Grabe Vaidehi Ramanathan
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Discourse Analysis
Sociolinguistics
Book Announcement: 17.1213

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EDITORS: Bruthiaux, Paul; Atkinson, Dwight; Eggington, William G.;
Grabe, William, Ramanathan, Vaidehi
TITLE: Directions in Applied Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2005

Yasemin Kirkgoz, Faculty of Education, Department of ELT, Lecturer
in English Language Teaching at the University of Çukurova

OVERVIEW

''Directions in Applied Linguistics'' constitutes a collection of scholarly
papers on areas directly relevant to the field of applied linguistics. Key
issues explored in this 327-page collection are divided into 5 parts,
each one opening with an introduction with commentary and a brief
overview of the chapters by one of the editors of the book. Each part,
focusing on different area, contains several chapters, which belongs
to a different author. As mentioned in the introduction to Part 1, the
book aims at giving insights into the nature and scope of applied
linguistics presenting 'plurality of views, interests, and styles' (p.4).
The book starts with a brief biographical description of each of the 26
contributors to the volume and, ends with ''References'', followed by a
section devoted to ''Biography and Publications of Robert Kaplan'' and
a subject ''Index''.

The following review is organized in the same sequence as the book
is presented. A short summary of each article is given followed by my
own evaluation.

DESCRIPTION

Part I ''Perspectives on Applied Linguistics'' opens the collection with
two texts that provide the conceptual framework for the scope of
applied linguistics. In this Introduction to Part 1, the editor Paul
Bruthiaux provides a critical overview of all the chapters that make up
the collection. Highlighted in this introductory chapter is the role that
applied linguistics plays as bridging theory and practice, and having a
direct relevance to the practices of various professionals including
language educators and policy makers. Bruthiaux also notes the
significant contribution made by the pioneering linguist, and a scholar
of international repute Robert B. Kaplan on various areas of applied
linguistics, particularly 'contrastive rhetoric', 'academic
writing', 'language policy and planning'. Bruthiaux explains the major
motivation behind the present volume as, in a sense, a tribute to
Robert B. Kaplan, whose influence is reflected throughout the volume,
and also from whose insightful research, pedagogical commitment and
writings, countless researchers and graduate students benefited; and
secondly to present to a wider readership a broad view of the
conceptual framework for the scope of the applied linguistics,
exploring its developments from the past into the present and the
future.

Chapter 1 ''Applied Linguistics, Interdisciplinarity, and Disparate
Realities'', by Henry G. Widdowson, identifies two related features that
would have to be met for any work to be considered applied
linguistics: a concern with 'real-world', and 'interdisciplinary'.
Widdowson argues that interdisciplinarity, itself is a tenuous concept,
operating on a level of abstraction, thus if we are to engage in real-
world issues, we need to develop a methodological approach that
might mediate between these two aspects of reality and to achieve
conceptual unity. A distinctive feature of this consensus, Widdowson
argues, should be an emphasis put by applied linguistics on examining
how the abstractions favored by applied linguistics can be put to
systematic test against the actuality of everyday existence.

In Chapter 2 ''Is Language Policy Applied Linguistics?'', Bernard
Spolsky, while exploring the multiple connections between applied
linguistics and language policy, argues for an intermediate field
naming it with his preferred label 'educational linguistics', which aims
to unite all the fields relevant to language education. In this respect,
he shares with Widdowson the common view that applied linguistics
does not merely consist of applying theory to solve real-world
problems. Spolsky, then, analyzes the involvement of applied linguists
to language policy, through a number of chronological yet overlapping
stages in historical progression, such as language reformers and
language planning experts. He concludes by drawing attention to the
ongoing expansion and redefinition of the applied linguistics field with
the contribution of pioneers like Robert Kaplan.

Part 2 ''Language Education''. In the 'Introduction' to Part 2, Vaidehi
Ramanathan introduces the theme of Language Education by noting
the common concern of educational change using the
metaphor 'elaborate machineries' to refer to educational systems
worldwide, and to highlight education's having both mechanistic as
well as dynamic nature. She notes that as educators with varying
backgrounds and interests we participate in creating 'knowledge' in
our 'disciplinary thought collectives' (Ramanathan, 2002), illustrating
how aspects of this knowledge can sometimes become part of a larger
machinery. Taking the view of larger socio-educational machineries,
Ramanathan argues that change is an inevitable part of this socio-
educational enterprise and as researchers; we are responsible
partially for change. She introduces three chapters in this section of
the volume, which address various aspects of this change.

In Chapter 3 ''Sharing Community Languages: Utopian Dream or
Realistic Vision?'', Michael Clyne argues that the sharing of community
languages in multicultural societies is no utopia, but can be achieved
through a realistic policy. First, Clyne explores historical development
of language policies on the teaching of English as a second language
and languages other than English (LOTEs), that is, Australian
indigenous languages. Clyne notes that particular language policies
have traditionally discouraged one group of people from maintaining
their bilingualism while spending huge amounts of money to make
others bilingual by teaching them a language other than English. As
part of an assimilation policy, Australia had an implicit negative policy
towards LOTE. The chapter ends with a call for cultivating a society
that validates and rewards multilingualism.

Chapter 4 ''Documenting Cultural Reform: Innovative Foreign
Language Education in Elementary School'' is co-authored by Rocio
Dominguez, G. Richard Tucker and Richard Donato, and reports their
involvement in a two-year curriculum reform project on the Spanish
Foreign Language Programs in Elementary School (FLES) involving
the introduction of literacy skills in the K-5 curriculum. The study
documents how teachers participating in the early literacy program
(PACE) integrate literacy skills by drawing on stories, folktales, and
legends to capture the children's interests and encourage them to use
the Target language communicatively. The study presents successes
and challenges in implementing the curricular innovation, and
highlights the interplay of socio cultural factors influencing the
educational change such as cultural beliefs, political climate, economic
conditions, administrative support, and language planning factors.

In Chapter 5 ''Research Perspectives on Non-native English Speaking
Educators'', Lia D. Kamhi-Stein addresses the issue of native /non-
native (NES/NNES) dichotomy, presenting a summary of research
focusing on these constructs especially as they are related to the role
of 'non-native' language teachers in language education. She
continues her discussion with NNES educators' self-perceptions as
class teachers such as perceptions of their language proficiency and
instructional practices; the relationship between their language
proficiency and professionalism; the role of race and language status
in relation to the 'ideal English teacher'. She then explores the
research focusing on how 'others' -- program administrators and
language students - perceive NNES educators. Kamhi-Stein calls for
future research that would more importantly deal with NNES
educators' levels of English language competence in relation to
curriculum delivery rather than issues of self-perceptions of language
proficiency.

Part 3 ''English for Academic Purposes''. In his introduction to the third
section in the volume, Dwight Atkinson takes a personal view of
Robert B. Kaplan's work, highlighting his influence on English for
Academic Purposes (EAP), which is strongly reflected in the four
chapters featured in this section of the volume. Atkinson also mentions
a less well-known aspect of Kaplan's career, that is, his powerful
contribution through his mentorship of countless graduate students
and individuals with no particular connection to him.

In Chapter 6 ''Reflections of a 'Blue Collar Linguist:' Analysis of Written
Discourse, Classroom Research, and EAP Pedagogy'', Dana R. Ferris
starts with a discussion of the different 'collars' worn by applied
linguists -from blue to white. Focusing on her own area of
specialization -the analysis of written discourse- she identifies four
categories of second language writing scholars, operating along a
continuum that extends from the most theoretical (white collar) to the
most practical (blue collar). For Ferris, blue collar applied linguists are
those who work on real-world problems in ESL settings, while white
collar applied linguists engage with social theory- still problem oriented
in many cases but without the concrete focus of blue collar work.
Tracing her own evolution as a researcher, Ferris discusses how she
turned from a theory-driven descriptive researcher into a practice-
driven applied linguistics, solving problems and investigating research
questions of ESL students, and back again. Finally, she questions the
usefulness of such a divide and suggests that all applied linguists
need to incorporate one another's insights into their thinking and into
their work.

Chapter 7 ''English for Academic Purposes: Issues in Undergraduate
Writing and Reading'', by Ann M. Johns, reflecting her lengthy
experience in EAP, provides an up-to-date account of the teaching of
academic literacy, as it relates to the apprenticeship of academic
writing by undergraduate students. She begins by posing four major
questions pertinent to academic writing, which gave rise to research,
and heated debate. Next, she describes in detail, three areas of
current EAP research that can help us answer her questions: the
social construction of texts, in which ''the texts are being treated as
living documents with which writers, readers, discourse communities,
and other texts interact'' (p. 105). She touches upon three areas
particularly valuable for academic literacy teachers: moves analysis,
voice and author's stance, and multiliteracies, which involves writers
integrating effective visual representations into their texts. She follows
this with 'applications' by illustrating how classroom practitioners can
make use of current literacy research and theory in their practices, at
the same time summarizing the current answers to the four questions
she posed at the beginning of her chapter.

In Chapter 8 '''Ear' Learners and Errors in US College Writing'', Joy
Reid examines the language problems of what she calls 'second-
generation US resident ESL student writers of academic English', a
population that acquired English mainly through their 'ears'. This
group is characterized as having a high level of communicative
fluency, yet having persistent accuracy problems. She then contrasts
this population with 'eye' learners, international students, who move to
US for post-secondary education after a significant period of
preparation in their home countries. Reid then discusses types of
errors EAP teachers typically encounter in the writing of 'ear' learners,
and makes innovative suggestions for their remediation. Reid
concludes by calling for further research and development regarding
instruction into immigrant student errors arguing that error gravity is
essential to developing appropriate approaches and curricula for such
learners.

Chapter 9 ''Teachers' Perceptions of Lexical Anomalies: A Pilot Study'',
by Cheryl Bold Zimmerman, following a similar approach to the
previous chapter, discusses an empirical study of native speakers of
English teachers' response to lexical anomalies -inaccurate usages of
words - produced by second language (L2) writers. Having given a
description of errors most frequently made by L2 learners under the
categories: Collocations, Language conventions/Set Phrases and
Meaning, Zimmerman introduces her research, which investigates
teachers' perceptions of certain lexical anomalies, how they identify
patterns for generalization, and strategies they use to explain such
anomalies. Participants in Zimmerman's study were fourteen native
ESL teachers, with an experience of teaching a vocabulary class but
without a formal instruction in vocabulary teaching. The study
revealed gaps in the formal lexical knowledge of the teachers, as the
teachers were not very accurate in categorizing the anomalies of the
items from a vocabulary research perspective. She then argues that
teachers' familiarity with lexical concepts is needed so that they can
better provide for effective remediation of student lexical difficulties.
This, in turn, implies that teacher preparation programs should
promote teachers' essential language awareness so that they can
better apply theory to practice.

Introducing Part 4 ''Contrastive Discourse Analysis'', William Grabe
discusses how Kaplan's insight originated, mainly out of practical
observation of the academic writings of ESL students, and how this
constituted the core of Contrastive analysis of academic discourse.

Chapter 10 ''Tertium Comparationis: A Vital Component in
Constrastive Rhetoric Research'', co-authored by Ulla M. Connor and
Ana I. Moreno, proposes an innovative theoretical framework for
contrastive rhetoric research using corpora that can be compared with
equivalent English corpora, highlighting the importance of tertium
comparationis or common ground of comparison at the design and
analysis stages of the research. They first describe the beneficial
effect corpus linguistics has on contrastive studies referring to
Johansson's (1998:3) classification of three types of corpora: parallel
corpora, translation corpora and learner corpora, of which learner
corpora has been the most common in contrastive rhetorical studies
as it allows for the examination of interlanguage errors between native
language writing and the target language. Describing the use of
comparative corpora in the studies of contrastive rhetoric, they argue
that contrastive rhetoric should describe and explain differences or
similarities in text-patterns across cultures on the basis of comparable
parallel corpora of texts. Connor and Moreno discuss the criteria for
the design of comparable parallel corpora, and conclude the chapter
by a proposal of a summary of the approach contrastive rhetoric
methodology can use for establishing parallel corpora.

Chapter 11 ''Structure and Style in the Narrative Writings of Mexican-
American and African-American Adolescents'', co-authored by Ann
Daubney-Davis and Genevieve Patthey-Chavez, extends contrastive
rhetoric by exploring the structure and discourse features of narrative
writing of 7th grade secondary students, Mexican-American and
African-American from the same school by analyzing texts for stylistic
features of the narratives. The study uses a social and cognitive
approach to text analysis followed by extended classroom
observations of students. In her discussion of the data drawn from
Ann Daubney-Davis's field work, Patthey-Chavez first justifies
choosing narrative writing as a conceptually familiar task for students
of this age, and one that could be produced by the students
themselves. Student narratives were collected in five 7th grade
classrooms on two occasions. Data was examined from multiple
dimensions focusing on structure, convention and style. The analysis
of narrative writing showed that both groups of students wrote in very
similar ways as far as writing conventions and syntactic structures
were concerned. However, considerable within-group variation was
recorded in the types of narrative development. Patthey-Chavez
argues that the narrative genre provides a good source for exploring
culturally distinct influences on writing, especially for minority
secondary school students.

Chapter 12 ''Functions of Personal Examples and Narratives in L1 and
L2 Academic Prose'', Eli Hinkel explores the concept of 'evidence' in
writing by examining the frequency of exemplification markers, first
and third person pronouns, and occurrences of past tense verbs, in
NS and NNS academic essays at the university level to determine
whether these two groups of students differ in their use of examples in
the argumentation and exposition essays. In her discussion of the
function of exemplification in non-Anglo-American Rhetorical
traditions, and exemplification in academic writing in English, Hinkel
persuasively argues that many Asian L2 writers from Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean backgrounds employ examples, and linguistic
features of examples in their essays due to their familiarity with the
concept of examples since that rhetoric strategy is emphasized in their
L1 education. In Hinkel's study, NNS writers were 317 L1 speakers of
Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and 127 NS graduates of US
students. All participants were asked to write an essay in response to
one of the prompts given, and each essay was subjected to a detailed
analysis. The results of the analysis showed that NNS students used
example markers at significantly higher frequencies than do NS
writers. In the conclusion, Hinkel proposes modifications to L2
academic writing instruction to take students' academic background
into consideration.

In Chapter 13 ''Cross-cultural Variation in Classroom Turn-taking
Practices'', Deborah Poole reviews cross-cultural studies of language
use in the way teachers cue interactional turns in second and foreign
language classroom settings. Poole first reports classroom accounts
of turn taking from mainly English speaking contexts in the US, then
from a variety of other cultural settings, which suggests that turn-
taking practices are linked to their socio-cultural contexts. Poole
argues that her investigation of turn taking presents a complex picture
of similarities and differences across various contexts. Poole
concludes her review by suggesting that teachers of L2 students from
diverse backgrounds should understand possible turn-taking
experiences through which their students are socialized into
classroom, and should thus have practical cross-cultural problem
solving knowledge to make their own interactional choices.

Part 5 ''Language Policy and Planning''. In the introduction to the final
section of the volume, William G. Eggington shows the richness of the
field of language policy and planning. He illustrates how Kaplan's work
in this particular area has had a strong theoretical underpinning,
specifically in terms of the eight major constructs which are taken up,
as points of departure, in the four chapters contained in this section of
the volume.

Chapter 14, ''Micro Language Planning'', by Richard Baldauf Jr.,
addresses micro language planning issues within an established
language-planning framework by raising the question whether micro
language planning should be explored as a way of solving small-scale
language problems. Baldauf first outlines how macro language policy
and planning can be conceived, and he provides a review of the
research dealing with conceptualizing framework for language
planning goals. He then discusses micro language planning by raising
the question whether the macro language framework, or elements of it
can be realized through micro implementation of macro planning.
Baldauf concludes by suggesting that micro language planning
approaches deserve much wider and closer attention.

Chapter 15 ''The Englishization of Spanish in Mexico'', by Robert J.
Baumgardner, starts with a review of 'Englishization' of Mexican
Spanish, offering a brief history of English borrowings in Spanish.
Baumgardner then describes efforts to prevent English intrusion,
indicating the relationship between corpus planning and status
planning. He shows that the efforts made by the Mexican Academy
of Language against Anglicisms to keep the language 'pure' were
short-lived and ineffective. Baumgardner then traces English
borrowings in Mexican Spanish today, which shows itself mainly
through manifestation of 'loan words', 'calques' and 'hybridization'.
In the conclusion, Baumgardner seeks for an answer to the question
whether Mexican English is in danger of being contaminated by
English or not.

In Chapter 16 ''Including Discourse in Language Planning Theory'',
Joseph Lo Bianco argues for the recognition of 'discourse planning'
which he characterizes as ''an element of language planning theory or
as an object of research for language planning theories'' (p.256), as a
legitimate component of language planning from two complementary
aspects; first, to include discourse planning within the framework of
language planning studies; secondly, to include the dimensions of
discourse to the understanding of specific language problems. He
elaborates his call for the inclusion of discourse in language planning
by discussing discourse with respect to status, corpus, acquisition,
usage, and esteem planning. In the conclusion, Lo Bianco suggests
that language-planning studies need to include policy analysis that
theorizes power.

In Chapter 17 ''World-Language: Foreign Language Policy in
Hungary'', Peter Medgyes reports on the foreign language educational
reform in Hungary by giving a detailed account of the process of
planning, implementing and evaluating a set of measures designed to
promote the teaching of foreign languages. Medgyes demonstrates
that changes taking place in the foreign language needs and the
provision of foreign languages in Hungary stem from multitude of
circumstances, political and economic factors and individual
preferences. He then gives a description of the 'World-Language'
program initiated by the Hungarian Ministry of Education, a language-
in-education planning approach aimed at promoting the acquisition of
German, English, or French in elementary school. However, Medgyes
suggests that this plan could be weakened because it has not been
part of a comprehensive language policy. Throughout, he emphasizes
that the challenges posed by language planning and language-in-
education planning in Hungary must be handled in a continuous cycle
of planning, implementation and evaluation.

CRITICAL EVALUATION

''Directions in Applied Linguistics'' is a significant contribution to the
field of applied linguistics, for the insights it offers into current
directions into the field, detailed exploration of issues informed by
theory while at the same time paying honor to the influential works of
Robert B. Kaplan.

Perhaps, the most positive quality of this book is the breadth and
depth by which several key issues in the field of applied linguistics are
addressed. Each chapter is clearly laid-out and well written. The
chapters are appropriately grouped under the thematically organized
sections. Due to the multitude of issues explored, some readers may
find only certain chapters addressing their particular interests. The
editors' Introduction proves particularly beneficial by providing an
overview on which the chapters' contents are based, and is extremely
useful to provide the reader with essential background information
before proceeding to read the texts.

Another strong feature of this volume lies in its up-to-date and
authentic illustrations of such themes. The articles are supported with
substantial research, and help to provide readers with updated
information about the topics. The collection of papers also represents
an international selection of authors and studies.

As stated in the Introduction, the book would primarily interest
linguists, researchers, graduate students in Applied Linguistics, and
language planners and policy makers. The wealth of illustrations, the
detail of discussion makes this book an extremely useful reference for
those involved in Applied Linguistics studies.

REFERENCES

Johansson, S. 1998. 'On the role of corpora in cross-linguistic
research' in S. Johannson and S. Oksefjell (eds.) Corpora and Cross-
linguistic Research: Theory, Method, and Case Studies. Amsterdam:
Rodopi.

Ramanathan, V. 2002. The Politics of TESOL Education: writing,
Knowledge, Critical Pedagogy. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
 
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER


Yasemin Kirkgoz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of
English Language Teaching at the University of Çukurova, Turkey.
Her research interests include English for Academic Purposes,
classroom based research, language education and language policy.


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