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date: 03 March 2024

Critical Applied Linguisticslocked

Critical Applied Linguisticslocked

  • Alastair Pennycook

Summary

Critical applied linguistics is a field of inquiry and practice that connects questions of power and inequality—domination (constraining possibilities), disparity (inequitable access), discrimination (ideological exclusion), difference (cultural distinction), and desire (social preference)—to applied linguistic concerns. It brings together common applied linguistic interests such as classroom utterances, translations, conversations, genres, second-language acquisition, and media texts with critical sociological engagement with ideology, neoliberalism, colonialism, gender, racism, sexuality, and so on. While critical applied linguistics may therefore suggest certain domains of inquiry—language and migration, workplace discrimination, anti-racist education, and language revival, for example—it also insists that all domains of applied linguistics—classroom analysis, language testing, sign language interpreting, and language and the law—need to take into account the inequitable operations of the social world, and to have the theoretical and practical tools to do so effectively. Critical applied linguistics can also be understood as the intersection of a range of related critical projects, from critical pedagogy, critical literacies, and critical discourse analysis to critical approaches to language policy, critical language testing, and critical language awareness. As a domain of applied work, critical applied linguistics seeks not just to describe but also to change inequality through forms of research, pedagogy, and activism.

Subjects

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

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