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What is the relationship of Language, Learning, and Identity?

This is just one of the dizzying questions addressed by those working in educational linguistics. The subdiscipline first came to prominence in the 1970s, and in recent decades it has expanded rapidly.

Editor Nancy H. Hornberger talks about the December release of her 6-volume set

How do Kumauni young women at Lakshmi Ashram, a unique Gandhian boarding school in multilingual northern India, experience and negotiate issues of language, education, and empowerment? What does a new English medium of instruction policy in a Ukrainian university look like in day to day practice and what does it mean to the stakeholders involved? What are the meanings, attitudes, practices, and challenges surrounding Hoisan-wa language maintenance in the Chinese-American community of San Francisco?

How are test accommodations taken up in testing, teaching and learning in urban, Spanish-English bilingual and super diverse multilingual elementary public school classrooms in the US Northeast? What are the experiences of latecomer immigrant students and their teachers in a secondary school in a new Latino Diaspora community?

These samples of recent dissertation research questions by Ph.D. students in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania are the kinds of questions that educational linguists ask – and that the readings collected in this set seek to answer. The six volumes are designed to give a historical overview of the development of critical concepts in Educational Linguistics from the 1960s to the present, organized thematically into fundamental core concerns.

Language Acquisition and Language Teaching represent enduring core concerns of the field. Educational Linguistics draws from linguistics and social science disciplines to address problems in educational policy and practice around language learning and teaching, and more broadly around the role of language in learning and teaching.

Language Diversity and Language Policy have also been central concerns of the field from its beginnings, perhaps because the field arose in the US at a time of acute awareness of educational inequality and disadvantage for both African American and Latino children.

Language Ecology and Language Identity have become increasingly salient in the field in recent decades, as the field – and the world – have become ever more globaly oriented and connected through technologies of communication and fluid movements of people and their languages across borders.

My selection is inevitably an idiosyncratic collection, influenced by my own experience and that of Penn’s Educational Linguistics program that I direct; my hope is that our experience will find resonance with readers.

Educational Linguistics publishes on 21st December and is available now to pre-order, order your copy today!

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