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An Introduction to Applied Linguistics

From Practice to Theory

Alan Davies

Edition: 2

eBook (PDF) i

This second edition of the foundational textbook An Introduction to Applied Linguistics provides a state-of-the-art account of contemporary applied linguistics. The kinds of language problems of interest to applied linguists are discussed and a distinction drawn between the different research approach taken by theoretical linguists and by applied linguists to what seem to be the same problems. Professor Davies describes a variety of projects which illustrate the interests of the field and highlight the marriage it offers between practical experience and theoretical understanding. The increasing emphasis of applied linguistics on ethicality is linked to the growth of professionalism and to the concern for accountability, manifested in the widening emphasis on critical stances. This, Davies argues, is at its most acute in the tension between giving advice as the outcome of research and taking political action in order to change a situation which, it is claimed, needs ameliorisation. This dilemma is not confined to applied linguistics and may now be endemic in the applied disciplines.

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1. History and 'definitions'
2. Doing being applied linguistics: the importance of experience
3. Language and language practices
4. Applied linguistics and language learning/teaching
5. Applied linguistics and language use
6. The professionalising of applied linguistics
7. Applied linguistics: no bookish theoretic

About the Author

Alan Davies is a long-term member of staff of the Department of Applied Linguistics in the University of Edinburgh. Now Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow, he is a former editor of the two journals Applied Linguistics and Language Testing and was for five years Director of the Language Testing Research Centre, University of Melbourne.


Davies, with his impressive experience and knowledge has packaged this comprehensive coverage of the field in an original and yet accessible way. The book is a pleasure to read for its style, its theory and its weaving in ofexperience... As with the main text, the supporting features are meticulously presented. This handbook, by a tireless scholar, is recommended for professional and personal libraries.
- Marilyn Lewis, Tthe University of Auckland, New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics

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