Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"
The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
Yasemin Kirkgoz, Faculty of Education, Department of ELT, Lecturer in English Language Teaching at the University of Çukurova
''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.
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.
''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.
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.