The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics

The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics

The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics

The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics


The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguisticsserves as an introduction and reference point to key areas in the field of applied linguistics.

The five sections of the volume encompass a wide range of topics from a variety of perspectives:

  • applied linguistics in action
  • language learning, language education
  • language, culture and identity
  • perspectives on language in use
  • descriptions of language for applied linguistics.

The forty-seven chapters connect knowledge about language to decision-making in the real world. The volume as a whole highlights the role of applied linguistics, which is to make insights drawn from language study relevant to such decision-making.

The chapters are written by specialists from around the world. Each one provides an overview of the history of the topic, the main current issues and possible future trajectory. Where appropriate, authors discuss the impact and use of new technology in the area. Suggestions for further reading are provided with every chapter. The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguisticsis an essential purchase for postgraduate students of applied linguistics.

Editorial board: Ronald Carter, Guy Cook, Diane Larsen-Freeman and Amy Tsui.


This Handbook is a reference work covering key topics in applied linguistics. Each chapter provides an accessible introductory overview of an area of the field. The book is intended for a diverse audience, but is firmly oriented towards newcomers: you, the reader, might be a researcher, a graduate student, an academic wanting to familiarize yourself with the field, or a indeed a language professional looking for a ‘way in’ to one of the many topics encompassed by applied linguistics.

Applied linguistics

Applied linguistics is the academic field which connects knowledge about language to decisionmaking in the real world. Generally speaking, the role of applied linguists is to make insights drawn from areas of language study relevant to such decision-making. In this sense applied linguistics mediates between theory and practice.

The origins of applied linguistics lie in the mid-twentieth century effort to give an academic underpinning to the study of language teaching and learning. Until at least the 1980s applied linguistics was most closely associated with the problems and puzzles surrounding language pedagogy, learning and acquisition. This focus is still prominent for many: it remains the most active area of applied linguistic enquiry, though the time is past when it could be considered the sole motivation for the field. As chapters in this volume demonstrate, applied linguistics concerns range from the well-established ones of language learning, teaching, testing and teacher education, to matters as disparate as language and the law, the language of institutions, medical communication, media discourse, translation and interpreting, and language planning. Applied linguistics engages with contemporary social questions of culture, ethnicity, gender, identity, ageing, and migration. Applied linguists adopt perspectives on language in use spanning critical discourse analysis, linguistic ethnography, sociocultural theories, literacy, stylistics and sociolinguistics. And applied linguistics draws upon descriptions of language from traditions such as cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, generative linguistics and systemic functional linguistics, among others.

Though this is an applied field and an interdisciplinary one, it is not fragmented. The distinctive identity of contemporary applied linguistics can be characterized both in conceptual terms and in terms of its scope and coverage.

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