Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning

Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning

Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning

Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning


The Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning is a handbook dealing with all aspects of contemporary language teaching and its history. Produced specifically for language teaching professionals, it will also prove useful as a reference work for academic studies at postgraduate level.The articles, by international specialists, are arranged alphabetically. They cover teaching in particular countries and in a range of specific languages. Themes covered include:* methods and materials* assessment and testing* contexts and concepts* related disciplines, such as psychology and sociolinguistics.With thematic contents list and detailed index, this is an invaluable resource for anyone with a professional or academic interest in the subject.


At the turn of the twenty-first century, it has become a commonplace to remark how the world has become a village where people of many different places and origins encounter each other in real or virtual space, in ways which a generation ago would have seemed impossible. Encounters mean communication, and communication should lead to understanding and harmony, or at the very least a reduction of conflict. Yet communication depends above all on overcoming the barriers which languages can symbolise, especially for those who do not live in societies where a variety of languages are already part of their environment.

Language learning has become a necessity for everyone, even those whose first language is English, currently a dominant lingua franca, but whose future is unpredictable. Perhaps ironically, this current situation means that this encyclopedia can be published in one language, English, and be accessible to the largest number of readers, although we are acutely conscious that there are still limitations.

When the language(s) that are needed are not readily available in the immediate environment, learning becomes dependent on teaching, for, despite the ease and inevitability of first language(s) acquisition in early childhood, language learning of any other kind turns out to be a complex and difficult task. It is in these circumstances that, for over a century, language teaching has increasingly become a significant profession. At the same time, the complexity of the task of language learning, and therefore of teaching, has become more and more apparent. That complexity has been met with the ingenuity of learners and teachers to devise methods, to create environments, to understand the processes, to simplify and systematise, to find appropriate institutions, all of which is multiplied by the number of traditions which have developed at different times and places more or less independently of each other.

For those who are professionally engaged in language teaching-as teachers, as teacher educators, as inspectors and evaluators, as testers and assessors, as curriculum designers and materials producers-the field has become so complex that it is difficult to know. Like other professions, they need works of reference, those which describe the languages they teach, and those which describe the discipline which they profess. The former include grammars and dictionaries but also the encyclopedias of languages and linguistics which have become commonplace.

This encyclopedia is in the latter category. It provides an authoritative account of the discipline of language teaching in all its complexity. It does so in a way which makes that account readily accessible, whether for quick reference or as a means of gaining an overview and insight in depth of a particular issue. It also enables the language teaching professional to discover the relationship of language teaching to other disciplines. It can thus provide rapid help on a particular problem or be the basis for in-depth and wide-ranging study, as one entry leads to another through the use of cross-references in the text and after each entry, and lists of further reading.


The encyclopedia has been created for the language teaching profession. Language teaching

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