LINGUIST List 23.4396

Sat Oct 20 2012

Review: Applied Ling.; Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics: Hall (2011)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 20-Oct-2012
From: Yumin Chen <>
Subject: Teaching and Researching: Language and Culture
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AUTHOR: Hall, Joan KellyTITLE: Teaching and Researching: Language and CultureSERIES TITLE: Applied Linguistics in Action SeriesPUBLISHER: PearsonYEAR: 2011

Yumin Chen, School of Chinese as a Second Language, Sun Yat-sen University, ChinaJingfeng Zhang, School of Chinese as a Second Language, Sun Yat-sen University,China

SUMMARYThis volume is the second edition of 'Teaching and Researching Language andCulture'. It introduces and elucidates language teaching approaches and researchmethodologies from the sociocultural perspective. It provides readers andresearchers with research tools they need in practice-oriented research. The newedition has been updated to include some new features, with special reference tothe explanation of the influences of electronic technologies and globalizationon the social context of teaching and researching.

This volume is organized into four sections. Section I, "Defining language andculture", contains three chapters, in which the author lays out some majorassumptions about the nature of language and culture from a socioculturalperspective. The introductory Chapter 1, "A sociocultural perspective onlanguage and culture", describes and traces the lineage of current perspectiveson language and culture. Hall outlines how the pragmatically motivated study ofsocial action advances our understanding of languages constructing socioculturalworlds. Chapter 2, "Language and identity", uses the concept of social identityto demonstrate the mutual interaction between language use and identity. Thischapter discusses in detail the importance of contextualization cues withinInteractional Sociolinguistics (IS) in accomplishing communicative events, whileacknowledging the criticism on the notion of contextualization cues.Additionally a growing focus on co-construction of identity is discussed basedon the rise of global migration, which is a challenge to the study on theformation of hybrid social identities. Chapter 3, "Language and culturelearning", reviews the jointly constructed process of transformingsocially-formed knowledge and skills into individual language learningabilities. The influences of globalization and new digital technologies onlearning are also emphasized as difficult challenges for pedagogical research,thus "Language Classrooms as Fundamental Sites of Learning" is replaced by"Context of Learning" as the title of Section 3.3 in the new edition.

Section II, "Teaching language and culture", examines current theoreticaldirections of work on language, culture and learning that inform pedagogicalpractices. Chapter 4, "The sociocultural worlds of learners", points out thatlinguistic anthropology, particularly research on language socializationpractices, connects learners' sociocultural worlds to mainstream institutionalsettings. The sociocultural world fundamentally shapes learners' language andcognitive abilities and cultural beliefs, rather than being a peripheral factor(Bongartz and Schneider 2003). In Chapter 5, "Language and culture of theclassroom", classrooms are characterized as significant socioculturalcommunities for learners. The pattern of classroom interaction might limitlearners' opportunities to engage in communicative activities. For the purposeof redesigning curriculum and instruction, two pedagogical approaches, i.e.Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Cooperative Learning Practices, are explainedas to how they link teaching with learners' social contexts . Chapter 6,"Language and culture as curricular content", refines communicative competenceand intercultural communicative competence, answering the question "where are wegoing?" inductively as to address the learning outcome. A number of pedagogicalapproaches are introduced, and it also points out the importance of developingin learners the cultural repertoire to engage into the mutually constructedsocial world.

The purpose of Section III, "Researching language and culture", is concernedwith current research on and approaches to the study of language and culture.Chapter 7, "The research enterprise", discusses the foundations of research fromthe sociocultural perspective and with regard to methodological considerations.Talkbank, a worldwide interdisciplinary repository of databases, is recommendedfor its transcription standards and tools to process video data. How to balancethe relationship with participants and research ethics is also stressed. Theauthor provides a list of professional associations and government fundingagencies that develop sanctioned guidelines and advisory sources of researchethics. Chapter 8, "Approaches to research on language and culture", summarizeseight common approaches currently used by applied linguists, includingethnography of communication, interactional sociolinguistics, conversationanalysis, discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics (SFL), criticaldiscourse analysis, linguistic ethnography (LE) and micro-genetic approach. Twoof them, SFL and LE, are new in this edition. Chapter 9, "Guidelines for doingresearch", presents a set of guidelines for planning, conducting and evaluatingresearch projects. The author reorganizes this chapter by dividing Section 9.1of the first edition "introduction and research cycle" into two separate parts.Sections 9.2 to 9.7 of the first edition have been combined as the "The researchcycle" as Section 9.1. Chapter 10, "Contexts of research", provides a frameworkfor conceptualizing research contexts to give readers a sense of how currentundertakings in the field are conducted. Eight research projects are presentedto inspire readers to undertake further research on their own. A pie chart ofresearch contexts is also provided to help readers visually grasp the entireresearch scenario.

Section IV, "Resources", provides a rich array of useful resources, including alist of key journals in the field, professional organizations of appliedlinguistics, and easily accessible web-based resources, along with suggestedfurther readings and glossary of important concepts in the field, which arevaluable to readers in carrying out their own studies.

EVALUATIONThis volume fits the series in which it appears and plays an important role inexplaining the relationship between language and culture. It systematically laysout some major underpinnings of contemporary thoughts on language and culture asthey bear on applied linguistics. Electronic technologies and increasinglydiverse and complex communities pose challenges to teaching and researchinglanguage and culture inside and outside traditional classrooms. The authorillustrates these phenomena throughout the book. In particular, Chapter 4contextualizes how these two factors challenge educational approaches. Chapter 5deals with how electronically mediated sites shape learners in social contexts.Chapter 6 points out that electronic technologies expand the scope of learners'communicative activities and their resources to make meaning.

The author introduces some latest theoretical developments in language teachingand research in relation to cultural context. Some of the technical terms like"Project-based learning (PBL)" in Section 6.3.2 replaces "classroom-based socialresearch (CBSR)" used in the first edition. CBSR is restricted to face-to-facecontact, while PBL can also be used in online communication. Another addition isa fifth dimension to the multiliteracies pedagogy (Kalantis & Cope, 2008).Along with the existing four interrelated aspects (i.e. situated practice, overtinstruction, critical framing and transformed practice), genre-based pedagogy(Christie & Martin, 2007) is considered a new dimension in multiliteraciespedagogy. Such work assists the continued development of models and strategiesfor implementing the analysis of multimodal discourses, and it also responds tothe challenges created by emerging electronic modes of communication and theincreasingly diverse populations of classrooms and sites of learning.

This volume is a tremendously valuable asset to the series 'Applied Linguisticsin Action'. It is presented in an accessible and easy-to-follow way withtheoretical reviews, sample analyses and suggested further readings. Meanwhileit also suggests some potential research projects. It will be welcomed byestablished researchers as well as students of linguistics as one of theimportant handbooks on applied linguistics.

REFERENCEBongartz, C. and Schneider, M. 2003. 'Linguistic development in social contexts:A study of two brothers learning German', Modern language Journal, 87:13-37.

Christie, F. and Martin, J.R. 2007. Language, Knowledge and Pedagogy: FunctionalLinguistic and Sociological Perspective, London: Continuum.

Kalantis, M. & Cope, B. 2008. Language education and multiliteracies,Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 1: Language Policy and PoliticalIssues in Education (2nd edn, pp.195-211), New York: Springer.

McDermott, R. and McDermott, M. 2009. 'Quantitative and Qualitative', Mind,Culture and Activity, 16: 203-208.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERSYumin Chen is a lecturer in the School of Chinese as a Second Language, SunYat-sen University. Her research interests include discourse analysis, andlanguage teaching.

Jingfeng Zhang is a post-graduate student in the School of Chinese as aSecond Language, Sun Yat-sen University. Her research interests includeapplied linguistics, learning strategies for second languages and teachingand researching language and culture.

Page Updated: 20-Oct-2012