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An Introduction to Applied Linguistics, 2nd ed.,

N. Schmitt (Ed.). Hodder Education, London,
England (2010), pp...

Article in Linguistics and Education December 2011

DOI: 10.1016/j.linged.2011.05.003


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Francisco Ramos Calvo

Loyola Marymount University


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Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Linguistics and Education

journal homepage:

1 Book review

3 An Introduction to Applied Linguistics, N. Schmitt (Ed.)., 2nd ed. Hodder Education, London, England (2010). pp. 342+ix,
ISBN: 978-0-340-98447-5


5 Norbert Schmitt has done an outstanding job in compiling a volume intended to fulll its stated purpose of offering a
6 broad overview of Applied Linguistics (p. viii). Thus, in the Preface, Schmitt explains that the book will introduce you
7 [readers] to important areas in the eld, and familiarize you with the key issues in each of those areas (p. viii). The easy-to-
8 read writing style of the chapters, described by Schmitt as sophisticated introduction, helps in this regard since it provides
9 readers with a basic knowledge of the most current ideas and theories, research methodology, and practical applications

10 present in the discipline while building the background to access more complex texts should they decide to do so.
11 This edited volume includes a preface, 16 chapters, a reference section and an index. In the Preface, Schmitt describes
12 the purpose and general layout of the text, as well as issues related to chapters authorships and internal organization.
13 Immediately following is Chapter 1, featuring a well-crafted description of the eld of Applied Linguistics, which includes a
14 denition of the discipline and a brief historical overview since its inception. A third section in the chapter, Themes to watch
15 for in this book, reminds readers of the existing underlying relationships between a large majority of the areas addressed
16 throughout the volume despite being covered in different chapters. Consequently, Schmitt and Celce-Murcia, the co-authors
17 of the chapter, encourage readers to seek the aforementioned connections, rather than compartmentalizing the chapters, for
18 they believe that, true understanding of any individual area can only be gained by understanding others which are related
19 (p. 10). In so doing, readers will gain a better grasp of the books content and a better understanding of the discipline.
20 Chapters 2 through 15 are clustered into three sections, respectively labeled Description of language and language
21 use, Essential areas of enquiry in Applied Linguistics, and Language skills and assessment. The rst section, Descrip-
22 tion of language and language use, encompasses chapters on grammar, vocabulary, discourse analysis, pragmatics, and
23 corpus linguistics. The second, Essential areas of enquiry in Applied Linguistics, contains chapters on second language

24 acquisition, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and learners styles, strategies and motivation. Lastly, Language skills and
25 assessment includes chapters revolving around issues related to the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, as
26 well as assessment.
27 Each chapter also includes two additional sections: Further reading and Hands-on activity. The former includes various
28 reading suggestions formulated by the author(s) of the respective chapter, intended for readers wishing to gain a deeper
29 grasp of the issues at stake. Interestingly, each recommendation is accompanied by a brief, yet informative, description of

30 its content. The Hands-on activity section presents readers with questions or situations to ponder or provide answers to,
31 in light of the information presented in the chapter. Solutions to these questions, which vary in length as well as in number,
32 are provided by the authors themselves in Chapter 16, appropriately entitled Suggested solutions. Course instructors will
33 nd both the Hands-on activity as well as the Suggested solutions chapter especially useful because they will allow them
34 to check for students understanding of the content of each chapter. The book concludes with a reference section, which
includes the bibliographical references clustered by chapter. This conguration facilitates the task of its readers at the time


36 of nding relevant sources without having to search for them in a joint bibliography.
37 An Introduction to Applied Linguistics offers numerous benets for its readers. All the chapters have been written by
38 authorities in their respective elds, among them Paul Nation, Patsy Lightbown, Nina Spada, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Paul
39 Matsuda, and Tony Silva. This ensures the quality of their content, the inclusion of current developments in the eld, and
40 the thoroughness of the analyses. Another interesting feature is the similar format adopted by all the chapters: they all
include a denition of their respective topic, which keeps with the sophisticated introduction intention of the book. This


42 explanation is generally followed by each topics importance or relevance to the eld and some pedagogical implications, in
43 accordance with the practical intentionality of the book.
44 The easy-to-read style of the book presents a wide variety of topics in an approachable manner, in stark contrast to
45 other more academically or research-oriented texts, which may detract novices from the discipline due to the complexity
46 of their narratives, despite their obvious interest. Secondly, as mentioned above, the caliber of the authors ensures the high
47 quality, currency, and relevance of its content. Thirdly, in requesting that the authors follow a predetermined format, Schmitt

0898-5898/$ see front matter


Please cite this article in press as: Ramos, F. Book review. Linguistics and Education (2011),
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LINEDU 368 12

2 Book review

48 cleverly ensured a degree of homogeneity across chapters despite authors individual writing styles. In facilitating across-
49 chapter comparisons of denitions, terminology, or eld of application, readers will gain a better and clearer understanding
50 of the different areas of study. Additionally, this organizational tactic overcomes a deciency present in other volumes that,
51 notwithstanding their quality, may not present readers with the information needed to gain a thorough understanding of
52 the various areas included in the discipline of Applied Linguistics. Finally, as indicated by Schmitt, the nature of the chapters
53 offers readers the possibility to read them either sequentially or at their discretion, depending on their respective interests.
54 Overall, this compact volume fullls its intended purpose of presenting readers with a thorough introduction to the eld
55 of Applied Linguistics. In so doing, it will be of interest for college instructors teaching in the areas of Applied Linguistics,
56 Literacy, TESOL, or similar elds. It will also be of interest for students in these courses, in that they will be provided with
57 an introduction to the eld while gaining the foundation en route to more advanced courses in the discipline.

58 Francisco Ramos
59 Department of Language and Culture in Education, School of Education, Loyola Marymount University, Los
60 Angeles, CA, USA
61 E-mail address:
Available online xxx



Please cite this article in press as: Ramos, F. Book review Linguistics and Education (2011), doi:10.1016/j.linged.2011.05.003

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