LINGUIST List 15.2042

Sat Jul 10 2004

Review: Applied Linguistics: Cook (2003)

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  1. Zohreh Eslami-Rasekh, Applied Linguistics

Message 1: Applied Linguistics

Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 15:32:14 -0500
From: Zohreh Eslami-Rasekh <>
Subject: Applied Linguistics

AUTHOR: Cook, Guy
TITLE: Applied Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
YEAR: 2003
Announced at

Zohreh Eslami-Rasekh, Texas A&M University

This book is one of the most recent publications in a series, Oxford
Introductions to Language Study, dedicated to publishing introductory
books in linguistics. According to H. G. Widdowson, the editor of the
series, the books in the series are intended to respond to the need
for a more general introduction to language use. These books are
intended to provide transitional texts which will facilitate people's
understanding of complex linguistic ideas. The series is meant to
provide an introduction to the field of linguistics for linguists,
novice linguists and general public.

This book, as others in the series, is organized into four sections:
Survey, Readings, References, and Glossary.

The Survey, the largest part in the text (81 pages), gives an overview
of the main features of applied linguistics and provides a clear, easy
to understand, overview of the majors issues in applied linguistics.
Cook breaks the survey down into eight chapters. He deals with issues
like the need for and scope of Applied Linguistics in chapter 1, views
on 'correctness' in language description and use in chapter 2,
language attitude and how languages are perceived by different people
in chapter 3. Chapters 4 through 6 provide an overview of language
teaching methods, communication, and context. Cook traces the history
of language teaching from grammar translation to the communicative
approach. He argues that changes in approaches to teaching are the
result of changing perceptions of 'good' language use. He points out
that communicative competence theory is the most powerful model in
that it enables us to take into account context in analysis of
language use. Chapter 7 gives an overview of literary discourse,
rhetoric of persuasion, and critical discourse analysis. Chapter 8
covers the past, present and future directions of Applied Linguistics.

The Reading section (33 pages) is comprised of a selection of texts
taken from relevant literature in the field of Applied
Linguistics. The texts in this section provide readers and opportunity
to explore further issues introduced in the survey and help readers
familiarize themselves with the language of linguistic literature.

In the References section, Cook provides an annotated list of
references related to the subjects addressed in the Survey. Relevant
references are given for each of the eight chapters and they are
accompanied by a short commentary explaining their relevance to the
issues covered in each chapter.

The final section of the book is Glossary. It provides definitions of
key terms used in the book and gives page number references of their

Guy Cook in this introductory book to applied linguistics presents a
wide, yet general, overview to the field. The book has only one
chapter on language teaching compared with other introductory
textbooks in applied linguistics which have a heavy emphasis on issues
related to language teaching. The book gives a general overview of the
different contemporary issues in the field of applied linguistics,
rather than placing detailed emphasis on certain dominant areas.

The reader is provided with a clear, general introduction to the field
and gets a broad understanding of the field and the related
contemporary issues in applied linguistics. The author's efforts to
cover all the subfields within the field of applied linguistics within
only 134 pages of a pocket size book limit his ability to provide an
in depth coverage of the complex issues and notions in the
field. However, the Reading section provides more detailed explanation
of the main issues covered in the 8 chapters of the Survey section and
the annotated References direct the interested reader to other
pertinent sources.

The book is easy to read and understand. The practical emphasis rather
than the theoretical orientation of the book makes it appealing to the
novice linguist or general public. By using daily life examples, Cook
stresses the importance of language in society. The explanations
throughout the book are clear and do not require the reader to have a
certain level of background linguistic knowledge.

Overall, in this book, Guy Cook presents a short and concise overview
of the main concerns of applied linguistics today. Controversial areas
of contemporary language use, including political and commercial
persuasion, the growth of English, intercultural communication, issues
of correctness and language attitudes and native speakers are covered.
It can be used as a supplementary introductory reading for the field
to assist understanding of more complex readings to the field

Zohreh Eslami-Rasekh is an assistant professor at Texas A&M
University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in ESL/EFL
methodology. Her research interests include cross-cultural
pragmatics, interlanguage pragmatics, politeness and language use,
teaching ESL/EFL, and second language teacher education.
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