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Language, Learning and Teaching

Irish Research Perspectives

Edited By Fiona Farr and Máiréad Moriarty

This book showcases recent work carried out by members of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics (IRAAL). By focusing on the relationship between language and its users within the micro context of Ireland, the contributors generate insights which promise to open up future avenues for Applied Linguistics research, both in Ireland and beyond.
The collection addresses two main themes within the field of Applied Linguistics: language learning and teaching, and the study of language and its discourses in context. In order to ensure that the volume is relevant to as wide an audience as is possible, it is not theoretically focused; rather, each chapter deals with a specific real world issue in context. The book provides an account of language problems that have arisen given the increasingly multilingual nature of Ireland, examines the current status of the Irish language and explores the potential for new technologies to enhance language learning and teaching.

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Michael McCarthy Applied linguistics research: Connecting with the bigger picture

Extract

There is (fortunately) no one single agreed definition of Applied Linguistics (AL), though most scholars would agree that AL should always be con- cerned with practicalities in the real world in relation to which knowledge about language plays a pivotal role. Schmitt and Celce-Murcia (2010: 1) refer to AL’s aim to ‘achieve some purpose or solve some problem in the real world’ by using what we know about language, how it is learned and how it is used. I might in addition, if the reader will permit such vanity, refer to a definition from one of my own works, which includes ‘the belief that linguists can of fer insights and ways forward in the resolution of prob- lems related to language in a wide variety of contexts’ (McCarthy 2001: 1). Meanwhile, the editors of the present volume have added further definitions to the mix (see p. 2). What emerges is a discipline that is very catholic in its scope, covering a spectrum that ranges from the application of theories and descriptions of language in general and particular languages on one side, to chalk-face and e-learning preoccupations on the other, which, while dominated by problems of language learning, by no means exclusively function within that domain. Aside from the issues of language and lan- guage learning in classrooms and more recently online, the discipline has, in the last few decades, expanded to include forensic applications and the broad domain of information technology. Being rooted in the real world, AL has also...

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