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Review of  Applied Linguistics

Reviewer: Zohreh Eslami-Rasekh
Book Title: Applied Linguistics
Book Author: Guy Cook
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Issue Number: 15.2042

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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

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

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.