UGIS 120

UGIS120 Introduction to Applied Language Studies 

(3 units) – CCN 89900
Instructor: Prof. Claire Kramsch
T Th 2-3:30 156 Dwinelle

Catalogue description

This course is an introduction to the study of language as applied to real-world problems in specific situations in which people use and learn languages, e.g., language learning and teaching, language socialization, bilingualism and multilingualism, language policy and planning , computer-mediated communication, stylistics, translation, intercultural communication, language and symbolic power, political and commercial rhetoric. In each of these cases, language at once represents, expresses and is a metaphor for reality. The course explores such questions as: How do people acquire a language that is not their own and how does this affect their social and cultural identity? How do people not only say things but do things with words? How does language both reflect and construct values, beliefs and ideologies? How can language both create problems and help solve them in the real world of politics, religion and academia? Three hours lecture and discussion per week. Fieldwork: observation and analysis of language-related real world problems.

Required readings

Approx. 60 pages of reading per week

Weekly reaction journals

based on two or three questions on each set of readings for the week. The journals will be collected and graded every three weeks


Three times during the semester, students will be asked to collect empirical language data from various sources, e.g., interviews, classrooms, courtrooms, informal conversations, online interactions, newspaper reports. They will be asked to offer a brief analysis and interpretation of the data, using the tools discussed in the readings (and in the case of spoken data, to transcribe them). This fieldwork will apply the insights gained from the readings to concrete cases of language learning and use in various settings.

No mid-term

An informal evaluation based on the reaction journals and the fieldwork to date will enable the instructor to identify students at risk by the middle of the term.


3 hour final, books closed, during finals period. The final will evaluate the students’ knowledge of the basic notions, theories, and historical developments in the field of Applied Language Studies.

The final grade will be established on the following basis:

35% reaction journals on the readings 
35% fieldwork reports 
30% final

Simpson, James (Ed.) Handbook of Applied Linguistics. London: Routledge (in press).

A Reader, with selections taken from various canonical works in the field of Applied Linguistics, such as:

  • Austin, John. How to do things with words (1962)
  • Blommaert, Jan. Discourse (CUP 2005)
  • Davies, Alan. An Introduction to Applied Linguistics. From practice to theory. (Edinburgh UP, 1999 )
  • Ellis, Rod. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. (OUP 1994)
  • Fairclough, Norman. Language and Power (Longman 1989)
  • Fairclough, Norman. Language and globalization (Routledge, 2006)
  • Gee, James Paul. An introduction to discourse analysis. Theory and Method. (Routledge 1999)
  • Goffman, Ervin. Presentation of self in everyday life (Doubleday 1959); Interaction Ritual ( Pantheon 1967)
  • Gumperz, John. Discourse Strategies (CUP, 1982)
  • Hanks, William. Language and Communicative Practices (Westview P 1996)
  • Hutchby, Ian and Robin Wooffitt. Conversation Analysis (Polity Press 1999)
  • Kern, Richard. Literacy and Language Teaching (OUP 2000)
  • Kramsch, Claire. Language and Culture. (OUP 1998)
  • Kramsch, Claire (Ed.) Language socialization and language acquisition. Ecological perspectives. (Continuum 2002)
  • Lakoff, Robin. Talking Power. The politics of language. (Basic Books, 1990)
  • Lantolf, James. Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning (OUP, 2000)
  • Larsen-Freeman, Diane & Lynne Cameron. Complexity Theory and Language Learning. (OUP 2008)
  • Norton, Bonny. Identity and Language Learning. (Longman 2000)
  • Pavlenko, Aneta (Ed.) Bilingual Minds. Emotional experience, expression and representation. (Multilingual Matters, 2006).
  • Pennycook, Alastair. The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. (Longman, 1994).
  • Rampton, Ben. Crossing. Language and Ethnicity among adolescents.(Longman, 1995)
  • Romaine, Susan. Bilingualism. (2d ed. Blackwell, 1995)
  • Seidlhofer, Barbara. Controversies in Applied Linguistics. (OUP, 2003)
  • Shohamy, Elana. The Power of Tests. A critical perspective on the uses of language tests. (Longman, 2001)
  • Tannen, Deborah. Conversational Style. Analyzing Talk among Friends. (Ablex, 1984)
  • Widdowson, Henry G. Explorations in Applied Linguistics. (OUP 1984)

Weeks 1-3: Descriptions of Language

Speech act theory, ethnomethodology (Austin, Goffman)
Pragmatics, discourse/ conversation analysis (Kasper, Schegloff)
Communicative practices (Gumperz, Ochs, Hanks)
Sociocultural theories (Lantolf) 
Complexity theory, language ecology (Larsen-Freeman)

Weeks 4-6: Language, culture and identity

Language, thought, and culture (Sapir/Whorf, Slobin, Kramsch)
Language and identity (Norton)
Language and gender (Cameron, Tannen) 
Bi- and multilingualism (Pavlenko, Jessner)
Post-modern sociolinguistics (Blommaert, Rampton) 

Weeks 7-9: Language learning, language education

Second language acquisition (Ellis)
Language socialization (Baquedano-Lopez) 
Technology and language teaching (Kern)
Second language literacy (Kern)
Stylistics and translation studies (Widdowson) 

Weeks 10-13: Real world matters

Language policy and planning (Lo bianco)
Language testing (McNamara, Shohamy)
Language and ideology (Fairclough, Lakoff)
Linguistic imperialism, World Englishes (Canagarajah, Pennycook)
Political and commercial rhetoric; the uses of humor (Cameron)